Measles

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What is the issue?

In the U.S. there are several ongoing measles outbreaks. Measles outbreaks typically start with a person becoming infected during travel. A person can be exposed to measles during international travel or through contact with someone locally that has measles. They can spread measles to others who are not vaccinated, or who have not had measles in the past. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for current information on the number of cases.

What is measles?Top 4 - Smiling Baby

Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It can lead to hospitalization and in rare cases death. Measles spreads through the air by coughing or sneezing. You can get measles by just being in the same room as someone who has measles.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by a rash that typically spreads from the head to the rest of the body. A person with measles can pass it to others from four days before their rash appears to four days after it appears.

Who is at risk?

Most people in Minnesota can’t get sick from measles because they have been vaccinated or have had measles before. However, in recent years MMR vaccination rates have declined in some communities and groups – often due to fears related to misinformation about vaccine risks. This decline in vaccination rates increases the risk – not only for those who choose not be vaccinated, but also for those who cannot be vaccinated because of their health status (for example, a weakened immune system) or because they are too young.

How can I protect myself?

Measles can spread very easily among unvaccinated people. The best way to protect yourself and your community is the measles vaccine. There are two combination vaccines used to prevent measles:  measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine.

Contact your healthcare provider to confirm that you and your children have received the measles vaccine. You can also request vaccination records by calling (651) 201-3980 or visiting MIIC Immunization Records Requests.

Where can my child(ren) get the measles vaccine?

Talk to your healthcare provider about receiving the measles vaccine. If you have concerns about the cost of the vaccine, please call your local Public Health Department. The Minnesota Vaccines for Children Program provides free or low-cost vaccines to eligible children through age 18 years. Look up vaccine clinics to find a clinic location near you.

Carver County Public Health offers free or low-cost vaccines to eligible residents. Visit www.co.carver.mn.us/immunizations for more information, or call (952) 361-1329.

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