WHAT IS IT?
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the rubeola virus. It spreads in the air by coughing and sneezing. Measles has been declared eliminated from the United States, however it is still a common disease in many parts of the world. Many of the people that got measles in the United States received it from outside the country and brought it back with them.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- High Fever
- Runny nose
- Koplik spots (white spots) inside the mouth
Children younger than five and adults older than 20 years of age are at risk for serious complications. Serious complication are pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and ear infections that can lead to permanent hearing loss. It generally begins 7 to 14 days after infection. A person is contagious about four days before to four days after the rash appears.
HOW CAN I PREVENT CONTRACTING THIS DISEASE?
Currently there is a vaccine to prevent Measles. The vaccine is the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. The first dose is recommended to children 12 to 15 months and a second dose at 4 to 6 years. 90% of people that get close to a person that has Measles who are not vaccinated will contract the virus.
If you are traveling, you can help prevent the spread of disease by:
- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and washing your hands afterwards.
- Not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with dirty hands.
- Avoiding close contact with sick people.
- Being up-to-date on all immunization shots and getting any additional shots 4 to 6 weeks before traveling.
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