Measles is a virus that causes a rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation and fever. It can lead to ear infections, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death. Measles spreads when a person infected with the measles virus breathes, coughs, or sneezes. It is very contagious. You can catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, up to 2 hours after that person is gone. And you can catch measles from an infected person even before they have a measles rash. Almost everyone who has not had the MMR shot will get measles if they are exposed to the measles virus.
The United States declared that measles was eliminated in 2000. Measles "elimination" means that the disease is not constantly present in the USA. Since 2000, the annual number of people reported to have measles ranged from a low of 37 people in 2004 to a high of 668 people in 2014 (CDC). Most of these people got measles outside of the United States or after being exposed to someone who got measles while in another country. In 2015, we have saw many cases of measles that were part of a large outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.
Vaccine - MMR
Measles is a communicable disease that is preventable through a vaccine called MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella). One dose of MMR vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus, and two doses are about 97% effective. In the United States, widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era (CDC). For more information on the vaccine, click here.
School Exclusion and Reportable to Public Health
Based on recommendations from Ventura County Public Health, a child with measles should be excluded from school until 4 days after the onset of rash and could be excluded for up to 21 days.
Measles cases should be reported to Ventura County Public Health at 805-981-5201.
Other Measles Resources