Canadian Travel Advisory – Mid-Western U.S.

I was surprised to hear there is currently a travel advisory cautioning Canadians about travel to Iowa, put out by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

According to CTV news this morning, a mumps outbreak has spread to nine mid-West states. It is the worst U.S. mumps outbreak since 1988. Many people who have contracted the fast-spreading disease have previously been vaccinated, putting into question whether the vaccinations are as effective as once thought or whether a more virulent strain of the mumps has developed. Most people who have contracted it are college age, between 18 and 22. Ministries of Health in Canadian provinces and territories have been advised to watch for cases from people travelling to Iowa.

The blanket recommendation from the advisory:

Canadians travelling internationally should ensure that their routine childhood immunizations — including diphtheria, whooping cough (pertussis), tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella — are up to date before travelling, regardless of their destination.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends vaccination of all children at 12 months of age with a combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) followed by a booster dose at either 18 months of age or at 4 to 6 years of age.

These recommendations have now also been included in Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Travel Report for the U.S.

It is still too soon for the World Health Organization to acknowledge it on its United States information page.


  1. Mumps can be serious, especially for adults, sometimes leading to deafness or sterility in men. This outbreak is remarkable: in all of Canada in 1998 there were 110 reported cases. See:

  2. Not to mention possible death! So far no deaths have been reported in the recent U.S. cases.