Measles, also called rubeola, is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus. It starts with fever that gets worse over several days, cough, runny nose, and watery, red eyes. After a few days a rash develops and lasts up to a week. Then it gets better by itself. Some people get a more serious case of measles which can cause diarrhea, middle ear infection, pneumonia (lung infection) or encephalitis (brain infection).
Measles illness during pregnancy can cause early labor, miscarriage, and low birth weight infants. Measles in people with AIDS or weak immune systems can be very severe. In the United States, 2 out of 1000 people who get measles will die from it, usually from the complications of the pneumonia or encephalitis caused by the infection.
Measles is prevented through vaccination. Before there was a vaccine, it is estimated that there were over 3 million measles cases every year in the US, and 500 deaths due to measles. The vaccine that we use today, called MMR, for measles, mumps and rubella, is highly effective. Measles vaccination protects not just the person being vaccinated, but the community around them, including babies less than 12 months old who are too young to be vaccinated.
Health Advisories and Media Releases
Current measles activity in the Bay Area:
- May 16, 2019 Joint Health Alert
- April 29, 2019 Press Release: English | Tagalog
- April 8, 2019 Health Update
- March 28, 2019 Press Release
Previous measles activity in the Bay Area:
State and Federal Measles Virus General Information
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Measles Page
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Measles Page