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Home > Health & Wellness > Health Education > What You Need to Know About Measles
Published on May 26, 2017
There is a current and ongoing outbreak of measles in an area of Minnesota near Minneapolis, predominately in children age 10 and under. Though the disease has not been seen in Iowa at the time of this publication, here are some commonly asked questions about measles to help you be proactive about your health.
Measles is a serious and contagious respiratory disease (in the lungs and breathing tubes) that causes a rash and fever. In rare cases, it can be deadly.
Measles spreads when a person infected with the measles virus breathes, coughs or sneezes. It is very contagious. You can catch measles just by being in a room or area where a person with measles has been – up to 2 hours after that person is gone. You can also catch measles from an infected person even before he or she has measles symptoms.
Initial symptoms include high fever, cough, pink eye and runny nose. After three to five days of the fever’s onset, a red, blotchy rash may appear at the hairline and progress downward and outward to hands and feet.
The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine can protect children and adults from all three of these diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get two doses of the MMR vaccine:
The CDC also recommends at least one dose of the MMR vaccine (unless the person has had all three diseases or has evidence of vaccination) for:
Contact your primary care provider if you have any questions about measles. Need a primary care provider? Contact Find-A-Doc at (319) 369-4444.