While Measles was declared eliminated in 2000, the United States is now experiencing the highest number of measles cases since 1994.1 There are 1,044 confirmed cases in the U.S., across 28 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, as of June 13, 2019.1
According to the CDC, Measles is primarily transmitted through inhaling airborne particles or contact with infectious droplets on surfaces that are transmitted via hands to the eyes, nose or mouth.2 Measles can also be transmitted through infectious air particles that can remain in the air for up to two hours after an infected person was in the area.2 Most measles outbreaks in the U.S. originate with an unprotected individual that was exposed to the virus during international travel, as the measles is transmitted at higher rates in areas of Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.3
The typical symptoms to look out for usually begin 7-14 days after infection. The most common symptoms are a high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. A few days after symptoms begin, white spots may develop in the mouth and then a rash develops on the skin.4 Fever may spike high when the rash develops.4
Vaccination is the primary recommendation for preventing the spread of Measles. All individuals who are not medically precluded should receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, which is 97 percent effective at preventing infection.5
Good hand hygiene and disinfection of surfaces will also help reduce any Measles virus contamination and risk of transmission by touch. CDC recommendations, which include using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and handwashing when hands are visibly soiled, should be observed.
Parents of young children and anyone unable to receive vaccination for medical reasons should be mindful of these precautions, particularly when in an area with a known outbreak. Active outbreaks are currently in New York City, New York State (Rockland County), California (Butte County), Pennsylvania and Washington1 within the U.S. and in Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Ukraine, and the Philippines, abroad.6 In healthcare facilities, testing when indicated and contact precautions for cases is critical.
To learn more about the prevention of Measles and to receive the latest news and travel notifications, visit the CDC website.