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Measles Surge and Importance of Prevention, Protection

Given the current surge in measles cases (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 555 cases in the U.S., as reported by Minnesota Public Radio) it's important to be aware of important ways to keep children healthy and safe. The best way to prevent measles is for all children to be fully vaccinated on time.

A scientist in a laboratory works.

What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory system. Infected individuals can release the infection into the air when they cough or sneeze. Measles is serious—if untreated, it can result in severe and long-term complications. It is especially high-risk for children under 5.

What are the symptoms of measles?

  • Per the Centers for Disease Control, initial symptoms can include a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes
  • Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth.
  • Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.

Who is at high risk for measles?

Infants and children who aren’t vaccinated are at highest risk for contracting measles. Areas or communities with low immunization rates are at particular risk as well. Measles spreads easily among people who are not vaccinated.

What should I do?

Call your primary care doctor or clinic right away if you see symptoms of measles, or if you suspect you or your child has been exposed. Your doctor or clinic will advise you on next steps.

Is my child vaccinated?

If you aren’t sure if you or your child has been vaccinated—or if you’re unsure a vaccination is up-to-date, call your primary doctor or clinic.

For more information about measles, visit the Minnesota Department of Health Measles Basics page.