Measles Information


Measles in Washington State

In 2019, Washington had two outbreaks of measles, and one case of measles that was not part of an outbreak, totaling 87 cases
The Washington State Department of Health reminds people to take precautions to help stop the spread of measles and prevent more outbreaks. The best protection against measles is to get vaccinated. Make sure to protect yourself and your family with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

What is measles?
Measles is caused by a virus and spreads very easily when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. It spreads so easily that someone who is not protected (either by being immunized or having had measles in the past) can get it if they walk into a room where someone with the disease has been in the past couple of hours.

What are the symptoms of measles?
• Cough
• Runny Nose
• High Fever
• Red and watery eyes
• Rash

How serious is measles?
Measles is a very serious disease. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. One or two out of 1,000 die from measles complications. Measles can also cause pregnant woman to miscarry or give birth prematurely. Complications from measles are very common among children younger than five and adults older than 20.

Measles spreads so easily that anyone who is exposed to it and is not immune (for example, someone who has not been vaccinated) will probably get the disease.

Who needs the measles vaccine (MMR)?
• Kids need two doses of MMR – the first dose at age 12-15 months and the second at four to six years of age.
• Young kids who travel abroad and who are at risk need extra measles vaccine:
• Infants six to 11 months old need one dose of MMR before travel. In addition, they still need to get both regular measles vaccine doses – the first at 12-15 months old and the second at 4-6 years old.
• Kids 12 months or older need two doses of MMR (separated by at least 28 days) before travel.
• Adults born in 1957 or later should get one dose of the vaccine if they haven’t had measles or didn’t get the vaccine in 1968 or later. If you’re unsure, you can have a blood test done that will let you know if you have immunity.
• Most adults born before 1957 have had measles and are immune – so they don’t need the vaccine.

Additional Information

Where to get the Measles Vaccine?