The Measles Outbreak & Your Travel Plans

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The 2015 measles outbreak, linked to a popular amusement park, has spread to seven states and has infected 125 people. According to the CDC, a simple cough or sneeze can spread the virus into the air, remaining there for nearly two hours. If you did contract the disease from the airborne virus, it could take up to four days for you to even know you are sick. By this time, you could be on day five of a 10 day trip or you could already be home.

What is Measles?

The symptoms of measles generally appear one or two weeks after a person is infected. Measles typically begins with

  • high fever,
  • cough,
  • runny nose (coryza), and
  • red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis).

Two or three days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades. (Source: CDC)

How Can Travelers Protect Themselves?

If travel plans bring you to an outbreak area and you or a traveling companion has not been vaccinated, there is an extreme risk of contracting the measles.

If you are traveling to the outbreak area with young children or unvaccinated companions, comparing travel insurance plans is a good idea. Most providers will have plans that cover all children traveling with you. Some, however, do not cover any child under the age of 6 months, so read the details of the plan you purchase closely. Because children are most at risk for contracting the measles, you’ll want to insure them as well as you.

Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR)

Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) provides greater flexibility than a standard travel insurance policy, enabling travelers to cancel a trip due to fear of an outbreak. The CFAR benefit allows travelers to cancel a trip for any reason and receive up to 75% of their trip cost returned. To add CFAR coverage to your policy, you’ll need to match certain eligibility requirements – you can find them at the InsureMyTrip website.

Trip Cancellation

Trip cancellation coverage will apply if someone traveling has been diagnosed with the measles after insurance has been purchased and cannot travel. With a doctor’s note, a traveler can file a claim with the provider to get a refund on the trip cost covered by the plan.

Medical Coverage

Your plan may also cover you if you or someone traveling with you contracts the measles while on the trip and is hospitalized or evacuated.

If you are traveling to an area of the world that is experiencing an outbreak, be sure to look into travel medical coverage and medical evacuation coverage specifically.

We always recommend traveling safely and with as much knowledge as possible. Know the area of the world to which you are traveling and consider purchasing travel insurance that will cover you for any possibility that may fit your situation.