MEASLES MANIA: Frequently Asked Questions


Q: I’ve been exposed to a person who has measles. What should I do?

A: Immediately call your doctor and let him or her know that you have been exposed to someone who has measles. Your doctor can determine if you are immune to measles based on your vaccination record, age, or laboratory evidence, and make special arrangements to evaluate you, if needed, without putting other patients and medical office staff at risk. If you are not immune to measles, MMR vaccine or a medicine called immune globulin may help reduce your risk developing measles. Your doctor can help to advise you, and monitor you for signs and symptoms of measles.

If you do not get MMR or immune globulin, you should stay away from settings where there are susceptible people (such as school, hospital, or childcare) until your doctor says it’s okay to return. This will help ensure that you do not spread it to others.

Q: Am I protected against measles?

A: CDC considers you protected from measles if you have written documentation (records) showing at least one of the following:

You received two doses of measles-containing vaccine, and you are a(n)—

  • school-aged child (grades K-12)
  • adult who will be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission, including students at post-high school education institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers.

You received one dose of measles-containing vaccine, and you are a(n)—

  • preschool-aged child
  • adult who will not be in a high-risk setting for measles transmission.
  • A laboratory confirmed that you had measles at some point in your life.
  • A laboratory confirmed that you are immune to measles.
  • You were born before 1957.

Q: What should I do if I’m not sure whether I’m immune to measles?

A: If you’re unsure whether you’re immune to measles, you should first try to find your vaccination records or documentation of measles immunity. If you do not have written documentation of measles immunity, you should get vaccinated with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Another option is to have a doctor test your blood to determine whether you’re immune. But this option is likely to cost more and will take two doctor’s visits. There is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine if you may already be immune to measles (or mumps or rubella).

Q: I believe I have measles. What should I do?

A: Immediately call your doctor and let him or her know about your symptoms you are having. Your doctor can determine if you are immune to measles based on your vaccination record or if you had measles in the past, and make special arrangements to evaluate you, if needed, without putting other patients and medical office staff at risk.

Q: My physician or someone from the health department told me that I have measles. What should I do now?

A: If you have measles, you should stay home for four days after you develop the rash. Staying home is an important way to not spread measles to other people. Talk to your doctor to discuss when it is safe to return.

You should also:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Avoid sharing drinks or eating utensils.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys, doorknobs, tables, counters.
  • Call your doctor is you are concerned about your symptoms.

Q: How effective is the measles vaccine?

A: The measles vaccine is truly very effective. One dose of measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus. Two doses are about 97% effective.

Q: Could I still get measles if I am fully vaccinated?

A: Very few people—about three out of 100—who get two doses of measles vaccine will still get measles if exposed to the virus. Experts aren’t sure why. It could be that their immune systems didn’t respond as well as they should have to the vaccine. But the good news is, fully vaccinated people who get measles are much more likely to have a milder illness. And fully vaccinated people are also less likely to spread the disease to other people, including people who can’t get vaccinated because they are too young or have weakened immune systems.

Q: Do I ever need to get a booster vaccine?

A: No. CDC considers people who received two doses of measles vaccine as children according to the U.S. vaccination schedule protected for life, and they do not ever need a booster dose.

Adults need at least one dose of measles vaccine, unless they have evidence of immunity. Adults who are going to be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission should make sure they have had two doses separated by at least 28 days. These adults include students at post-high school education institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers.

If you’re not sure whether you were vaccinated, talk with your doctor. More information about who needs measles vaccine.

Q: How common was measles in the United States prior to the vaccine?

A: Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of those people, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 4,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles.

Q: What are the vaccine coverage levels like in the United States?

A: Nationally, the rates of people vaccinated against measles have been very stable since the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program began in 1994. In 2016, the overall national coverage for MMR vaccine among children aged 19—35 months was 91.1%. However, MMR vaccine coverage levels continue to vary by state, with MMR coverage levels of <90% observed in 2016 in several states and local areas. At the county or lower levels, vaccine coverage rates may vary considerably. Pockets of unvaccinated people can exist in states with high vaccination coverage, underscoring considerable measles susceptibility at some local levels.

For more information about 2016 childhood vaccination coverage, see a CDC MMWR.

Q: Where do cases of measles that are brought to the United States come from?

A: Travelers can bring measles into the United States from any country where the disease still occurs or where outbreaks are occurring including Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. Worldwide, the 19 cases of measles per 1 million persons are reported each year; about 89,780 die. In recent years, many measles cases came into the United States from common U.S. travel destinations, such as England, France, Germany, India. During 2014, many measles cases came from the Philippines and Vietnam.

Q: Why have there been more measles cases in the United States in recent years?

A: In 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018, states reported more measles cases compared with previous post-elimination years. CDC experts attribute this to:

  • more measles cases than usual in some countries to which Americans often travel (such as England, France, Germany, India, the Philippines and Vietnam), and
  • therefore more measles cases coming into the US, and/or
  • more spreading of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.
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    Some statistics from the CDC on recent outbreaks in the US:

    During January 1-August 24, 2013, a total of 159 cases were reported to CDC from 16 states and New York City. Among the 159 cases, 7 (11%) persons required hospitalization, including four patients diagnosed with pneumonia. No deaths were reported.

    In 2011, a provisional total of 222 measles cases were reported from 31 states. Among the 70 (32%) measles patients who were hospitalized, 17 (24%) had diarrhea, 15 (21%) were dehydrated, and 12 (17%) had pneumonia. No cases of encephalitis and no deaths were reported.

  2. From:

    In fact, what was once a benign childhood disease might be a bigger problem BECAUSE the availability of the vaccine has become widespread, as Lawrence Solomon of Financial Post[5] suggests:

    In the pre-vaccine era, when the natural measles virus infected the entire population, measles – “typically a benign childhood disease,” as Clinical Pediatrics described it — was welcomed for providing lifetime immunity, thus avoiding dangerous adult infections. In today’s vaccine era, adults have accounted for one quarter to one half of measles cases; most of them involve pneumonia, one-quarter of them hospitalization.

    Also importantly, measles during pregnancies have risen dangerously because expectant mothers no longer have lifetime immunity. Today’s vaccinated expectant mothers are at risk because the measles vaccine wanes with time and because it often fails to protect against measles.

    Vaccinated mothers have little antibody to pass on — only about one-quarter as much as mothers protected by natural measles — leaving infants vulnerable three months after birth, according to a study last year in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

  3. OK about kindergarden, but post-high-school education is high risk?
    I would assume college students do not sneeze in each others’ faces, do not share their forks and glasses and especially not when feeling unwell, and, given the ladies among them may be pregnant, I would assume young men and women are particularly sensitive about the importance of not transmitting the disease. Am I wrong?

    • Considering the fact so much so-called education is nothing but indoctrination to leftists ideas rather than the training of critical thinking, there is a good chance that you are really wrong. Even without that added problem, it seems clear that a society (youth mainly) that practically makes heroes out of drug addicts and is making progress in “legalizing” such things as recreational marijuana is hardly a youth that instills confidence in either the choices they make or their self-control.

  4. Statistics. According to article, when measles was rampant at 4 million annual cases, approximately 1/100th of 1% proved fatal.
    This panic is a farce.
    (Not saying not to get a vaccine, but the “crisis” is ridiculous)

    • You’re wasting your time trying to put some brains into those who don’t care about truth, facts and testimonies when their godly doctors are uber alles.

    • Let’s try a little imagining. As example, why was the death rate so low then? Maybe because of expensive medical care (go back to the early 1900’s and the rate was 6,000 deaths) along with a series of young deaths for those who had poor resistance. Over the past 50 years, or so, those with poor resistance have managed to live long enough to procreate (thanks to vaccines), thus creating a much larger pool of those with low resistance. Aside from the deaths and the debilitation which would drain the economy, proper medical treatment for expected cases could simply crash the medical system altogether. And another thing to remember – if the lunacy takes hold that ignores vaccination, it will not stop with measles. This is about fighting lunacy that could spread to all vaccines and even modern medical treatment. The entire range of human misery could be brought back in very little time, and if that happens, the results are too frightening to imagine.

    • So according to you if 1000 people got infected and 10 frum yidden dropped dead in the next month it’s no big deal.

      This is what a certain flavor of Charedism has gotten us. It has given us Peleg and the Anti-Vaxx crazies who do not care if they even die for something that is easily preventable.

      • Math: 1/100th of a percent means if 1,000 people contracted measles than c”v .1 of a person could die.
        You wrote 10 out of 1000, that’s 1%. The article posted here says from CDC mortality rate is 0.01%.

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