What You Need to Know about Measles


There have been cases of measles in New York City, New York state and Washington, as well as a few cases in Atlanta. During this measles outbreak, there are a few things that everyone should know.


  1. People with measles are contagious four days before they develop the rash, and the virus can live in the air up to two hours after an infected person sneezes or coughs.
  2. Usually the symptoms start with fever, cough, runny nose and “pink eye”, like any other virus. Three to five days later a rash begins on the face and neck, spreading downward all over the body. This is when you realize it’s not a usual virus.
  3. Most of the time patients will recover, but on some occasions there can be complications like diarrhea and ear infection with hearing loss. More serious complications include pneumonia, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), or even death.
  4. And finally, it is important to know that measles can be prevented with a vaccine. Measles vaccine is usually given as part of the MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age and a second dose is given at 4 to 6 years of age. Only one dose is 93% effective in preventing the disease and the second dose insures added effectivity to 97%. This is a safe vaccine and does not cause autism. Most of the time, these outbreaks start in areas with a high number of unvaccinated children.


So to keep our children safe, it is important to vaccinate them!


Ivette D.Rico, M.D.

February 12, 2019