The invention of vaccines has been one of the brightest moments for humans as a species. Over the last couple of decades, we have put a number of diseases under control that once plagued millions and took innumerable lives. In developed countries like the United States, this has been even more pronounced, leading to the near-eradication of many serious illnesses such as measles and hepatitis A.
These days – whether due to scare-mongering by anti-vaxxers or simply because people forget about how serious some diseases get – American travelers choose not to get vaccines recommended by the Department of Health before traveling to certain parts of the world.
For example, a study has shown that less than half of American travelers who should get vaccinated for measles actually do so before traveling. Another study looked at Americans traveling to Mexico who returned with hepatitis A. None of them got the recommended vaccines beforehand.
There are a number of reasons for this, but in most cases, the people who took part in the studies said that they were simply “not concerned about illness”. The biggest problem is that people who contract diseases like measles while on their travels can cause outbreaks when they return home, harming others.
In short, if you are traveling abroad, always check if you should get any vaccines and if you do, get them.