What Is Measles?
Measles is a serious disease caused by a virus that
spreads easily from person to person. Measles causes fever,
rash, and other complications. You may have heard measles
called rubeola, the 10-day, hard or red measles). Measles is
not rubella which is sometimes called the German or 3-day
- Symptoms start 7-18 days (usually 10 days)
after a person has been in contact (exposed) with
someone with the measles and last for 1 to 2
- The illness starts with a high fever greater
than 101 degrees followed by a runny nose,
watery red sensitive eyes, and a cough.
- Tiny, blue-white spots usually appear in the
mouth during the first few days,
- A rash appears 14 days after exposure. The
measles rash is a raised red rash that starts at
the hairline, moves to the face and spreads down
the body and out to the arms and legs. The rash
usually lasts 4 to 7.
- People with measles are contagious for 4
days before and at least 4 days after the rash
- Complications occur most frequently
in children younger than 5 years and
adults older than 20 years.
- Complications of measles may include
ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, and
encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
and rarely, death.
- Measles in pregnant women can cause
miscarriages or premature delivery.
- Measles is spread from person to person. The virus
that causes measles is found in droplets and secretions
from the nose and throat of a person with measles.
- Measles virus can stay in the air of a closed room
for up to two hours after a person with measles was in
- Infants less than 1
year of age who are too
young to have been
- Any person who has
not had measles vaccine
for any reason and has
not had a history of
having had measles
disease that has been
confirmed by a lab test.
- Adults who were
vaccinated from 1963
-1967 with an
inactivated vaccine and
have not been
re-vaccinated with a
live attenuated vaccine.
- Persons who received
immune globulin near the
time that they received
the measles vaccine.
- Persons with
weakened immune systems,
infants, and pregnant
women are at increased
risk for severe measles.
You are considered immune if:
||You were born before January 1,
1957 (except for health care workers who should
consider receiving at least one dose of
measles-containing vaccine), or
||You have documentation of health care
provider-diagnosed measles, or
||You have laboratory evidence of
immunity to measles, or You already had two doses of
MMR or one dose of MMR plus a second dose of measles
||You have written documentation of
adequate vaccination to measles that includes the
date of administration (self-reported doses or
parental history of vaccination alone are not
MMR given after
12 months of age
- K–12 and
adults at high
MMR, with the
first dose given
on or after the
and with a
minimum of 28
days between the
first and the
- All other
during or after
1957: history of
at least one
dose of live
vaccine on or
after the first
**Persons who were vaccinated with an inactivated vaccine
that was available from 1963-1967, and have not been
re-vaccinated, may however be at risk for measles.
NOTE: Washington State Law
requires that children receive a 2nd (MMR) Measles, Mumps
and Rubella vaccination before entry into Kindergarten. A
second MMR dose has been required for school aged children
since 1992. Many colleges and schools of higher education
now require proof of a second MMR for school entry.
Yes, these individuals
by a lab
Individuals should not receive
the MMR if they:
- Make sure family members are fully vaccinated. Washington State law requires that all children have a record of immunization against measles for entry into school or a child day care center or preschool.
- The measles vaccine is combined with other vaccines. The vaccine most often given is the MMR (measles mumps rubella) vaccine.
- The 1st MMR vaccine is given to children when they are 12 to 15 months of age. A second dose of MMR is required for entry into kindergarten or 6th grade (depending on year of birth).
- People diagnosed with measles should limit their contact with others until at least 4 full days have passed since the time when their rash first appeared.
- An individual who is exposed to someone who has measles should contact their health care provider immediately. If they have not been vaccinated, measles vaccine can help prevent infection if it is given within three days (72 hours) of exposure.
- Immune globulin, when given within six days of exposure, may help prevent infection for those who cannot receive the MMR vaccine.