What You Should Know About Measles

In 2000, the U.S.declared that measles was eliminated from this country. Measles was eliminated because there is a highly effective vaccine and  a strong vaccination program is able to achieve high vaccine coverage in children.
Every year, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers who get measles in other countries. They can spread measles to other people who are not protected against measles, and sometimes, this can lead to an outbreak.
Vaccination is the best protection against measles. Children are not vaccinated until 12 months of age, which makes those less than 12 months of age vulnerable. The more people vaccinated in a community, the less likely there is disease, protecting the most vulnerable.
Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads through the air and respiratory droplets. The disease can result in severe complications, including pneumonia.
  • The incubation period ranges from 7 to 21 days.
  • Individuals are infectious 4 days before and after the rash onset.  
Measles begins with
  • high fever,
  • cough,
  • runny nose, and
  • red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth.
Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots.
The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.
If any one in your family has these symptoms, please contact your health care provider.
If any one in your family is not vaccinated against measles, or did not have measles, please stay informed of where measles cases or suspected cases are developing.

For more information, please visit: http://cdc.gov/measles