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Measles

child with measles rash

Measles is an illness that causes a full-body rash and flu-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and red eyes. It is very contagious. People can spread measles before they know they are sick, and measles can spread up to 2 hours after a sick person has left a room.

Measles can be serious:

  • About 1 in 4 people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized
  • 1 out of every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling
  • 1 or 2 out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care

Currently, there is no evidence of ongoing transmission of measles in Maryland.  However, there are ongoing measles outbreaks in other areas of the United States and the world. See the CDC measles website for updated information about measles outbreaks. For information measles in Maryland, visit the Maryland Department of Health’s Measles page .

The vaccine that protects people against measles and two other diseases is called the MMR, for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. The MMR vaccine is proven to be safe and effective. The CDC recommends two doses of MMR for children at the following ages:

  • 12-15 months
  • 4-6 years

If you are not sure if your child received 2 doses of MMR, check with your provider for the immunization record.

For adults, the CDC recommends MMR vaccination if you do not have “evidence of immunity.” Evidence of immunity includes any of the following:

  • Written vaccination records showing:
    • one or more doses of a measles vaccine given on or after the first birthday for preschool-age children and adults not at high risk
    • two doses of measles vaccine for school-age children and adults at high risk, including college students, healthcare personnel, and international travelers
  • Lab tests showing immunity
  • Lab-confirmed measles
  • Being born before 1957

Adults who do not have their vaccination or medical records should contact their childhood healthcare provider, current healthcare provider, or parents/family members. CDC Tips to Find Your Vaccination Records

Please note: The Health Department only has records for vaccinations given at the Health Department.

If you do not have your vaccination records, or think that you have not been adequately vaccinated for measles, talk with your provider to decide what is best for you. The MMR vaccine may not be covered by insurance for most adults. The MMR vaccine is available at most pharmacies, but call first to check availability and price. It is not harmful to get an additional MMR vaccine.

For more information on who should be vaccinated, who should not be vaccinated, and MMR vaccination recommendations, visit the CDC’s MMR vaccination page. Adults vaccinated in the 1960s should read Who Does Not Need MMR Vaccine? for specific information.

Maryland Department of Health Measles FAQ for Health Care Providers