Questions about Measles?
The following Questions and Answers are from Immunization Action Coalition.
What causes measles?
Measles is caused by a virus.
How does measles spread?
Measles is spread from person to person through the air by infectious droplets; it is highly contagious.
How long does it take to show signs of measles after being exposed?
It takes an average of 10–12 days from exposure to the first symptom, which is usually fever. The measles rash doesn’t usually appear until approximately 14 days after exposure, 2–3 days after the fever begins.
What are the symptoms of measles?
Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, loss of appetite, “pink eye,” and a rash. The rash usually lasts 5–6 days and begins at the hairline, moves to the face and upper neck, and proceeds down the body.
How serious is measles?
Measles can be a serious disease, with 30% of reported cases experiencing one or more complications. Death from measles occurs in 2 to 3 per 1,000 reported cases in the United States. Complications from measles are more common among very young children (younger than five years) and adults (older than 20 years).
Who should get the measles vaccine?
All children, adolescents, and adults born in 1957 or later without a valid contraindication should have documentation of vaccination or other evidence of immunity.
How effective is this vaccine?
The first dose of MMR produces immunity to measles and rubella in 90% to 95% of recipients. The second dose of MMR is intended to produce immunity in those who did not respond to the first dose, but a very small percentage of people may not be protected even after a second dose.
Who recommends this vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Physicians (ACP) have all recommended this vaccine.
How safe is this vaccine?
Hundreds of millions of doses of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine prepared either as separate vaccines or as the combined MMR have been given in the United States, and its safety record is excellent.
Does the MMR vaccine cause autism?
There is no scientific evidence that measles, MMR, or any other vaccine causes autism. The question about a possible link between MMR vaccine and autism has been extensively reviewed by independent groups of experts in the U.S. including the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. These reviews have concluded that there is no association between MMR vaccine and autism.
How is measles diagnosed?
Measles is diagnosed by a combination of the patient’s symptoms and by laboratory tests.
Is there a treatment for measles?
There is no specific treatment for measles. People with measles need bed rest, fluids, and control of fever. Patients with complications may need treatment specific to their problem.
How long is a person with measles contagious?
Measles is highly contagious and can be transmitted from four days before the rash becomes visible to four days after the rash appears.
What should I do if I think I have the measles?
If you believe that you (or a family member) might have measles, please call 425-339-5422 and talk to a health care professional. To protect other patients and members of the community, do not come directly in to the Walk-In Clinic or your primary care provider’s office.
What should I do if I think I might have measles?
Please call your provider’s office or 425-259-0966 and talk to a health care professional.
For more information, view the full Measles: Questions and Answers factsheet.
Additional Measles Resources
- CDC Measles Page
- King County Public Health Measles Page
- Snohomish County Health Department Measles Page
- Washington State Department of Health Measles Page
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