Measles is a highly contagious illness. Initial symptoms of measles include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes, which can last about a week. The measles virus spreads through coughing, sneezing, and contact with secretions from the nose, mouth, and throat of an infected individual. The virus can live in the air for several hours after a person coughs or sneezes.
Measles vaccine, which has been commonly used for more than 50 years, can safely and effectively prevent this disease. People should have their health care providers review their immunization records and get vaccinated against the measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases as appropriate. Measles vaccine is available through primary care physicians and the health departments.
Learn more about measles and the vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site.
April 2009 measles investigation in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area.