There have been measles outbreaks in California, Washington, Ohio, and New York 1150_loresrecently 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.