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Measles (Rubeola) Information

What is it?

Measles is a serious respiratory disease caused by a virus. Measles typically grows in cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. The condition is also called rubeola.

What are the symptoms?

Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough, and a rash all over the body.


About 1 out of 10 children with measles also get an ear infection, and up to 1 out of 20 get pneumonia. About 1 out of 1,000 gets encephalitis, and one or two out of 1,000 die.

While measles is almost gone from the United States, it still kills nearly 200,000 people each year around the world. Measles can also cause pregnant women to have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely.


Measles spreads through the air by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. It is so contagious that any child exposed to it and not immune will probably get the disease.


Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. The MMR vaccine is a live, attenuated (weakened) combination vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. It was first licensed in 1971 and contained each vaccine's safest and most effective forms.

Who needs the vaccine?

Children should get two doses of the MMR vaccine

  • The first dose is at 12 months through 15 months of age.
  • The second dose at four years through 6 years of age


You do NOT need the vaccine if:

  • You had blood tests that showed you are immune to measles, mumps, and rubella.
  • You are a man born before 1957.
  • You are a woman born before 1957 who is sure she does not have more children, has already had the rubella vaccine, or has had a positive rubella test.
  • You already had two doses of MMR or one dose of MMR plus a second dose of measles.
  • You already had one dose of MMR and are not at high risk of measles exposure.

You SHOULD get the measles vaccination if you are not among the categories listed above and:

  • You are a college, trade school student, or another student beyond high school.
  • You work in a hospital or other medical facility.
  • Your travel internationally or are a passenger on a cruise ship.
  • You are a woman of childbearing age.

Source: [url=http://www.cdc.gov]http://www.cdc.gov[/url]