Measles

Last content update: 2/9/24

Fever and rash? Consider measles. Call your doctor right away if you think you may have measles, especially if you traveled internationally in the last 3 weeks.

Traveling abroad? Protect against measles. Talk to your doctor about travel vaccinations. Multiple measles cases linked to international travel have been confirmed in the United States in 2024. 

What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles symptoms start with a fever, runny nose, cough, and red eyes, and are followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. Measles rash can be very uncomfortable. Measles can also cause serious complications. Learn more about measles.

What can you do?

Vaccination with two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is a safe and effective way to prevent measles.

Know if you and your children are protected. Two doses of MMR vaccine provide long-lasting protection against measles. Those who have previously been infected with measles are also protected from being infected with measles again.

Get vaccinated if you are not already vaccinated or are unsure of your vaccination status. Talk with your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated or having a blood test to check for immunity to measles.

Vaccinate your children. The MMR vaccine is included in the routine childhood immunization schedule. Children should receive the first dose at 12-15 months and the second dose at 4-6 years. Older children can be vaccinated, too, if they have not been already.

Call your healthcare provider if you think you or your child might have measles. Call before going to the medical office so the office can take steps to prevent others from being exposed to measles.

If you have more questions about measles, please contact your healthcare provider.

Where to get vaccinated

Measles and travel

Making travel plans? Make sure you’re vaccinated against measles. Measles is still common in many parts of the world such as Europe, Asia, the Pacific, South America, and Africa. All international travelers over the age of 6 months should be vaccinated against measles before traveling.
 
Talk to your doctor about travel immunizations at least 4-6 weeks before traveling. People planning international travel should ensure they have already received the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine.

If you develop a fever and rash within 3 weeks of returning from travel, call your doctor and tell them where you traveled.

In 2019, several cases of measles were reported in Santa Clara County. These cases were all linked to travel, especially international travel. None of the cases were connected to each other. Read the April 29, 2019 media release in English or Tagalog. For previous updates, scroll to the bottom of this page.

Information for parents, schools, and childcare centers

School vaccination rates

Student immunization rates in California have decreased from before the pandemic. Vaccines protect against serious diseases and are still one of the best ways to keep your family healthy. Talk to your doctor about recommended vaccines for your child and make sure your child is up-to-date on their vaccines.

Child care facilities and schools with low vaccination rates are at higher risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles. The measles vaccination rate for children in our county is high - over 97 percent on average in public schools, and over 94 percent on average in private schools, though some individual schools may have much lower rates, and some have rates of 100 percent.

Click below to check for vaccination rate at local schools:

Previous Measles Updates

June 20, 2019, Santa Clara County

April 17, 2019, San Mateo County Health Statement

April 9, 2019,​ San Francisco Public Health Notification​

March 29, 2019, Santa Clara County

March 26, 2019, Santa Clara County  

March 6, 2019, Santa Clara County

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