According to World Health Organization (WHO) officials, 2154 new measles cases have been confirmed since mid-2017 (as of June 9), of which 35 have been fatal. Over 1400 new cases have been reported since the beginning of 2018. The disease has been detected in 17 states and the Capital District, with the heaviest concentrations of cases in the Caracas region and the states of Bolívar and Delta Amacuro.
Prior to this outbreak, measles had been considered eradicated in Venezuela since 2014.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that typically affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of infected persons. Symptoms of measles are usually a high fever, which begins approximately ten to 12 days after exposure to the virus and lasts four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days). A vaccine is available.
Individuals in or planning travel to Venezuela are advised to ensure their vaccinations are up to date and to contact their doctor with any questions or concerns. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms is urged to seek medical attention.