What is Measles (Rubeola):
Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable viral infection that starts with a high fever, runny nose, cough and red eyes, followed a few days later by a rash that starts on the head and gradually moves down the body. The rash illness lasts about a week. It is usually a relatively mild illness but can result in complications, including pneumonia or inflammation of the brain, that require hospitalization.
People who contract the measles virus can spread the infection for four days before developing a rash and for four days after the rash starts. Measles can spread easily through the air to people who are not vaccinated or who have not had measles illness before.
Is it preventable?
Measles can be prevented with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. One dose of MMR vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus, and two doses are about 97% effective. Measles vaccine can be given alone or in conjunction with mumps and/or rubella vaccines, MMR. Most children receive the first dose at or shortly after their first birthday and the second dose is given after age 4. Immunity is not achieved until the second dose has been given thus explaining why children under the age of 5 are most at risk for contracting the disease.
Please take time to read the "Top 4 Things Parents Need to Know about Measles" recommended by the CDC. For more additional information, please visit CDC.gov or tn.gov/health.