What is measles?
Measles is a highly contagious disease that can cause serious illness. It is caused by a virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It spreads very easily from one person to another.

How does it spread?
Measles spreads through the air. If other people breathe contaminated air or touch a surface infected with the virus and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, they can become infected. It can easily spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

How contagious is it?
Measles is one of the most contagious diseases. The virus can live in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves the area. 

What are the symptoms?

  • rash – typically starts on the forehead and then spreads down the face and body
  • high fever (up to 104°F or higher)
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • red, watery eyes

Symptoms usually appear 7 to 14 days after contact with the virus. The rash usually appears 3 to 5 days after the initial symptoms.

How serious is it?
Measles can be a very serious illness, especially for infants, young children, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems.

Is there a vaccine?
Yes. The (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) MMR vaccine is highly effective against measles. Children should get their first dose of the MMR vaccine between 12-15 months and their second dose between 4-6 years. After two doses of the vaccine, it is 97% effective.

I’ve already had measles; can I get it again?