Measles

Measles

PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET

What is Measles?
Measles (rubeola) is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus and preventable by vaccination. Persons who have not had the disease and have not been immunized are susceptible.

How is it spread?
Persons are contagious from about 1-2 days before onset of symptoms to 4 days after appearance of rash. Infection usually occurs by breathing in droplets projected into the air by a person with measles.

How is it treated?
  • Physicians may recommend treatments to relieve rash itching and use of acetaminophen to control fever.
  • Protect eyes from strong or direct light.
How can we prevent Measles?
  • Measles is a vaccine preventable disease.
  • Two doses of measles vaccine combined with mumps and rubella (MMR) are recommended.
  • The initial MMR is given at 12-15 months of age and the second dose is given at school entry (age 4-6).
  • Unimmunized contacts to a measles case should be immunized with MMR within 72 hours after exposure—the vaccine may provide protection.
  • Immune globulin may provide short term protection for susceptible contacts for whom the risk of complications of measles is very high, such as immunocompromised persons, pregnant women, or infants under 1 year of age.
SYMPTOMS OF MEASLES
  • Fever (101E or higher) 3-4 days before appearance of rash
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Blotchy red rash appears 4-7 days after other symtoms.
  • Rash usually starts on face and spreads to trunk and extremities
  • Rash typically lasts 5-7 days