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Very few people-about three out of 100-who get two doses of the measles vaccine will still get measles if exposed to the virus. Experts aren't sure why. It could be that their immune systems didn't respond as well as they should have to the vaccine. But the good news is persons who received 2 doses of the measles vaccine (fully vaccinated) and who still get measles typically have a milder illness. Fully vaccinated people are less likely to spread the disease to other people, including people who can't get vaccinated because they are too young or have weakened immune systems.
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Persons can verify their vaccination status by referring to their yellow vaccination card or a printed vaccination record obtained from their primary care provider. If your provider participates in the California Immunization Registry (CAIR), you can request your records online (PDF).
Public Health is only able to verify your vaccination status if you received your vaccination at the public health clinic.
Symptoms usually appear 10 to 12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure. Measles typically begins with:
Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth. Not everyone will have Koplik spots.
Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. The rash usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body.
When the rash appears, a person's fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yes, individual cases of measles have been confirmed in California and states throughout the United States. View the current number of measles cases in the U.S.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.
The measles virus can live for up to 1 hour in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can become infected. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. However, measles does not survive more than 1 hour outside the human body.
Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the rash appears.
Measles is a disease of humans; the measles virus is not spread by any other animal species.
If you know you have been exposed to someone with measles, call Public Health at 530-552-3929. Additionally, you can call your Healthcare Provider and let them know that you have been exposed to someone who has measles. Your doctor can:
If you are not immune to measles, the MMR vaccine or, for persons at high risk for measles complications, a medicine called immune globulin may help reduce your risk of developing measles. Your doctor can help to advise you and monitor you for signs and symptoms of measles.
If you do not get MMR or immune globulin, you should stay away from settings where there are susceptible people (such as schools, hospitals, or childcare facilities) until your doctor says it's okay to return. This will help ensure that you do not spread measles to others.
If you are feeling well and you don't have any known exposure to a confirmed case and were not in any place listed at the date and time of possible exposure, you can check your vaccination records by requesting your records from CAIR the immunization registry (PDF). If you are unable to verify vaccination through CAIR, you can contact your healthcare provider to help you determine your immune status. There is no way to determine if someone has measles before they have symptoms, so if you are feeling well, and you don't have a known exposure, there is no need to seek healthcare. Concerned persons without known exposure can monitor themselves for fever and other signs and symptoms of measles.
You are considered protected from measles if you have written documentation (records) showing:
One dose of the measles vaccine is about 93% effective. Adults with one dose are generally considered protected but, if concerned, persons who only received one dose of measles vaccine can discuss with their healthcare provider whether a second dose might be desirable, based upon personal and community risk.
If you're unsure whether you're immune to measles, you should first try to find your vaccination records. If you do not have written documentation of your vaccination records, contact your Healthcare Provider to obtain your vaccination records. If you are not vaccinated against measles, you should get vaccinated with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Another option is to have a doctor test your blood to determine whether you're immune. But this option is likely to cost more and will take two doctor's visits. There is no harm in getting another dose of MMR vaccine if you may already be immune to measles (or mumps or rubella).
The measles vaccine is very effective. One dose of the measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus. Two doses are about 97% effective.
No. CDC considers people who received two doses of measles vaccine as children according to the U.S. vaccination schedule protected for life, and they do not ever need a booster dose.
Adults need at least one dose of the measles vaccine unless they have evidence of immunity. Adults who are going to be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission should make sure they have had two doses separated by at least 28 days. These adults include students at post-high school education institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers. If you're not sure whether you were vaccinated, talk with your doctor.
Every year, unvaccinated travelers (Americans or foreign visitors) get measles while they are in other countries and bring measles into the United States. They can spread measles to other people who are not protected against measles, which sometimes leads to outbreaks. This can occur in communities with unvaccinated people.
Most people in the United States are protected against measles through vaccination. Measles cases in the U.S. are uncommon compared to the number of cases before a vaccine was available. Since 2000, when public health officials declared measles eliminated from the U.S., the annual number of people reported having measles ranged from a low of 37 people in 2004 to a high of 667 people in 2014.