Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. About three out of 10 people who get measles will develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea. Complications are more common in adults and young children.
Measles Cases and Outbreaks
From January 1 to January 23, 2015, 68 people from 11 states were reported to have measles. Most of these cases are part of a large, ongoing outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.
For Healthcare Providers
Consider measles in patients with a febrile rash, cough, coryza or conjunctivitis.
Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. CDC recommends that children get two doses—
- the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and
- the second dose 4 through 6 years of age.
Adolescents and adults should also be up to date on vaccinations. Ask your health care provider if you have questions about whether you need MMR vaccine
106 Degrees: A True Story
Read about one family's scary experience with measles.
Advice for Travelers
Before traveling internationally, make sure you and your family's vaccinations are up to date. CDC recommends that all U.S. residents 6 months of age and older be protected from measles and receive measles vaccine, if needed, prior to departure.
- Watch (Level 1):
Measles in Vietnam
Frequently Asked Questions about Measles in the U.S.
Have questions about measles in the U.S.? See these answers to frequently asked questions.
- Page last reviewed: November 3, 2014
- Page last updated: January 22, 2015
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