There have been measles outbreaks in California, Washington, Ohio, and New York recently and the state and local public health offices as well as the Centers for Disease Control are concerned.
Measles is a highly contagious respiratory virus which can be spread to others 4 days before to 4 days after a rash develops. It is transmitted by droplets when someone who has the disease coughs or sneezes. The virus can remain suspended in the air for 2 hours even after an infected person leaves the area.
Symptoms typically develop 10-12 days after being in contact with the virus (with a range of 7-21 days) and include: fever; cough; red, water eyes; runny nose; and white spots inside the mouth. Three to five days later a rash begins on the face and hairline, spreading to the trunk, arms, legs and feet.
About 30% of measles cases have complications ranging from pneumonia, ear infections and diarrhea. About 1 child in every 1000 with measles will develop an inflammation of the brain. There are 2.2 deaths for every 1000 people who get measles.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine which can prevent measles, the MMR vaccine. The first shot is given at age 12-15 months and the second before the child begins school at ages 4-6 years. Reactions are minimal and include fever and a mild rash. Vaccines: VPD-VAC/Measles/FAQ Disease & Vaccine.