Measles (Rubeola)

What is Measles?

Measles is a highly contagious and potentially severe disease that causes fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes. Measles spreads very easily by air and by direct contact with an infected person. Measles is contagious from approximately 4 days before the rash appears through 4 days after the rash appears. Measles is a rare disease in the United States and in regions of the world where vaccination coverage is high. Maintaining high vaccination rates is vital to preventing outbreaks of disease in our community.

Confirmed measles cases in Orange County as of May 22, 2014:  22

Measles Vaccine

Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Two doses are recommended for all children, one at 12-15 months of age, with the second dose at 4-6 years of age. The MMR vaccine is widely available throughout the community. Free and low-cost vaccinations are available throughout Orange County. To learn more about the measles vaccine, contact your medical provider or visit measles vaccine.

Been exposed to Measles?

The risk of developing infection after brief encounters with persons with measles is low, but as a precaution, people who think they have been exposed to an individual with measles should:

  • Review their vaccination history if they have not previously had the measles; people who have not had measles or the measles vaccine are at higher risk after an exposure, so they should talk with a health care provider about receiving MMR vaccination.
  • Monitor themselves for illness with fever and/or an unexplained rash from 7 days to 21 days after their exposure (the time period when symptoms may develop); if symptoms develop, call your health care provider immediately

Health Care Providers