Measles (Rubeola) (cont.)
Edmond Hooker, MD, DrPH
Dr. Eddie Hooker is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville and at Wright State University. His areas of expertise include emergency medicine, epidemiology, health-services management, and public health.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Measles facts
- What is measles?
- What is rubeola?
- What is rubella?
- What are other names for measles?
- What is the history of measles?
- What causes measles?
- How is measles spread?
- How does one become immune to measles?
- Who is at risk for getting measles?
- Is measles deadly?
- What is the danger of getting measles while pregnant?
- If I am exposed, how long does it take to develop symptoms and signs?
- What are measles symptoms and signs?
- What are the complications seen with measles?
- What is atypical measles?
- What is modified measles?
- How is the diagnosis of measles made?
- If it is not measles, what else could it be?
- What should I do if I have been exposed to measles?
- Is there any treatment for measles after symptoms and signs develop?
- If measles only rarely occurs in the United States, why should I get vaccinated?
- Do I need to be revaccinated against measles if I am traveling to Europe?
- What is the prognosis for measles?
- How can I prevent contracting measles?
- Is there any truth to the fear of getting autism from vaccines?
- Who should not receive measles vaccinations?
- If a child has an egg allergy, can they still receive the measles vaccine?
- What adverse reactions can occur to the measles vaccination?
- Who should be revaccinated against measles?
- Where can I find more information about measles?
How is measles spread?
The measles virus is highly contagious. Measles is spread through droplet transmission from the nose, throat, and mouth of someone who is infected with the virus. These droplets are sprayed out when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Among unimmunized people exposed to the virus, over 90% will contract the disease. The infected person is highly contagious for four days before the rash appears until four days after the rash appears. The measles virus can remain in the air (and still be able to cause disease) for up to two hours after an infected person has left a room.
How does one become immune to measles?
Anyone who has had measles is believed to be immune for life. People who have received two doses of vaccine after their first birthday have a 98% likelihood of being immune. Infants receive some immunity from their mother. Unfortunately, this immunity is not complete, and infants are at increased risk for infection until they receive the vaccination at 12 to 15 months of age.
Who is at risk for getting measles?
Those people at high risk for measles include
- children less than 1 year of age (although they have some immunity passed from their mother, it is not 100% effective);
- people who have not received the proper vaccination series;
- people who received immunoglobulin at the time of measles vaccination;
- people immunized from 1963 until 1967 with an older ineffective killed measles vaccine.
Is measles deadly?
Measles can cause death. In 2008, approximately 164,000 people died of measles in the world. However, measles is rarely fatal in the United States. This is due to the fact that most people are immunized, which results in very infrequent outbreaks. Also, people most likely to have complications (including death) are those who are malnourished or who have weakened immune systems.
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