Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is rare in the United States due to high levels of vaccination with the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine; however, unvaccinated visitors from other countries can transmit measles to unvaccinated people in the U.S., or unvaccinated U.S. citizens traveling abroad can become infected during travel. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent transmission.
More than 95% of people who receive a single dose of MMR will develop immunity to measles, and more than 99% will be protected after receiving a second dose. At least 2 doses of the vaccine are needed to be fully protected. Individuals are encouraged to check with their health care providers to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date.
Children are routinely vaccinated for measles at 1 year of age, and again at 4-6 years of age before going to kindergarten, but children as young as 6 months old can receive the measles vaccine if they are at risk. Individuals born before 1957 are presumed to be immune to measles. If you are unsure about your vaccination history, check with your health care provider, as they have access to vaccination records for many Hoosiers through the Indiana Immunization Registry known as CHIRP.
If you think you have been exposed to the measles and are having symptoms:
- Inform all healthcare providers of the possibility of measles before entering any healthcare facility so that appropriate infection control precautions can be implemented.
- Tell your physician about a history of international travel, contact with foreign visitors, transit through an international airport, or possible exposure to a measles patient in the 3 weeks prior to symptom onset.
- You should self isolate, which includes staying home if you are ill.
For more information about measles, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For information on how to contact your local health department, please visit the Indiana State Department of Health.
Contact the Indiana State Department of Health Amy Reel 317-233-7315.