When you go on a trip to a new an exotic place you’ll spend some time picking out that unique keepsake to take home with you: a bracelet, a t-shirt, a shot glass, a artisan-crafted wood bowl. All fine choices, but what you don’t want to bring home is measles, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or polio. Yes, I said polio; the crippling disease is still prevalent and sadly gaining ground in some areas. You don’t want to let your global exploration be governed by your inner hypochondriac, so the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has an easy-to-navigate site to help you guard against infection.
The notices are color coded. In green areas you may encounter diseases like measles (which most of us are vaccinated against). If you see yellow, that indicates the possible presence of polio and/or MERS. As you can probably surmise, red means don’t go (period).
The alerts go into detail about the preventive measures you can take specific to the health concerns. A lot of the advice it is common sense that you should be practicing anyway; washing your hands, wearing bug repellent in mosquito-prone areas, getting your vaccines, eating food that has been prepared hygienically. You can always use the Can I Eat This? app we talked about previously.
I know this post isn’t long but we’ve been fielding a lot of questions since the cases of MERS were reported in the US. Please remember we’re travelers, not medical experts, so the CDC is your best place for this kind of information!