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CPH Measles FAQ

Most people in the United States are vaccinated against measles

Only people who may have been exposed and are not already immune to measles either by adequate immunization or from having the disease in the past are at immediate risk.

Keep in mind that not everyone is at risk for measles. You are considered adequately protected if:

  • You are a preschool age child with one measles vaccine (MMR – measles, mumps, rubella).
  • You are a school-aged child or college student who has received two doses of measles vaccine.
  • You are a health care worker who has had two doses of measles vaccine.
  • You are an adult who is not a health care worker and who has had one dose of measles vaccine.
  • You were born before 1957.
  • You have had the measles, diagnosed by a health care provider and confirmed with a lab test.
  • You have had a blood test that shows you are immune to measles.

What to do if you were in a location of potential measles exposure

Most people in our area have immunity to the measles through vaccination, so the risk to the general public is low. However, anyone who was in a location of potential exposure to measles around the times listed should:

  • Find out if you have been vaccinated for measles or have evidence of immunity to measles previously.
  • Call a healthcare provider promptly if you develop an illness with fever or illness with an unexplained rash. To avoid possibly spreading measles to other patients, do not go to a clinic or hospital without calling first to tell them you want to be evaluated for measles.

What do I need to do because of the measles outbreak?

You do not need to do anything if you have been immunized or were born before 1957. Even if you were exposed, you don’t need to do anything (see above).

What if I haven’t been vaccinated?

If you haven’t been exposed you are probably not at risk. Out of an abundance of caution, it is always a good idea to be vaccinated. There are many places where you can get a measles vaccination. (list here)(Link?)

What if I am not sure that I have been vaccinated?

You can call your primary care provider. If they don’t have a record, they can login to the state vaccination tracking system and check there as well.

If you don’t have a primary care provider please call the Kenai Public Health Center to check with them (907) 335-3400.

About Measles

What is measles?

Measles is caused by a virus and spreads very easily when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. It spreads so easily that someone who is not protected (either by being immunized or having had measles in the past) can get it if they walk into a room where someone with the disease has been in the past couple of hours.

How serious is measles?

Measles is a very serious disease. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. One or two out of 1,000 die from measles complications. Measles can also cause pregnant woman to miscarry or give birth prematurely. Complications from measles are very common among children younger than five and adults older than 20.

Measles spreads so easily that anyone who is exposed to it and is not immune (for example, someone who has not been vaccinated) will probably get the disease.

What are the symptoms of measles?

Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough, and a rash all over the body. People can spread measles before they show symptoms.

How soon do symptoms appear?

  • 7 to 21 days after exposure:mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and sore throat.
  • 2 to 4 days after symptom begin: tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth.
  • 3 to 5 days after symptom begin: a red or reddish-brown raised rash that feels like sandpaper appears, usually beginning on the face. The rash rapidly spreads down the neck, upper arms, and chest. Later, it spreads over the back, abdomen, the rest of the arms, thighs, legs, and feet. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

 Symptoms usually last seven to 10 days.

What does measles look like?

Many people have never seen what measles looks like because vaccination has made cases fairly rare in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers photos that show what measles looks like.

How is measles treated?

There is no specific treatment for measles. The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine may prevent illness if given to unvaccinated kids over 12 months or adults within the first three days after being exposed to measles.

How is measles prevented?

Getting vaccinated is the best protection against measles. When more than 95 percent of people are vaccinated against measles, the disease slows down and doesn’t spread.

Where can I get the measles vaccine?