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Measles (Rubeola) Information

What is it?

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

What are the symptoms?

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


About 1out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection and up to 1 out of 20 gets 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 Unites States, it still kills nearly 200,000 people each year around the world. Measles can also make pregnant women have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely.


Measles spreads through the air by breathing, cough or sneezing. It is so contagious that any child who is exposed to it and is 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 contains the safest and most effective forms of each vaccine.

Who needs the vaccine?

Children should get 2 doses of MMR vaccine

  • The first dose at 12 months through 15 months of age.
  • The second dose at 4 years through 6 years of age


You do NOT need the vaccine if:

  • You had blood tests that show 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 Is not having more children, has already had 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 student, trade school student, or other 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]