Measles is a highly contagious disease and can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are NOT immune will also become infected with the measles virus. You are considered immune from measles if you:
- Have had 2 doses of MMR vaccine. If you are uncertain that you have had a second dose or booster, it is recommended to receive another vaccine.
- Have had physician or laboratory‐confirmed measles or a positive antibody test for measles OR
- Were born in the United States before 1957 (when measles was still widespread)
The virus lives in the mucus in the nose and throat of the infected person. When that person sneezes or coughs, droplets spray into the air. The droplets can get into other people’s noses or throats when they breathe or put their fingers in their mouth or nose after touching an infected surface. The virus can live in infected surfaces up to 2 hours and spreads so easily that people who are not immune will probably get it when they come close to someone who is infected. Measles is a disease of humans: measles virus is not spread by any other animal species.
The symptoms of measles generally begin 7‐14 days after a person is infected and include:
- Blotchy rash (red or reddish brown)
- Runny nose
- Red watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Feeling run down (malaise)
- Tiny white spots with bluish‐white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)
A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and sore throat. Two to three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after the start of symptoms, a red or reddish brown rash appears. The rash usually begins on a person’s face at the hairline and spreads downwards to the neck, trunk, arms legs and feet. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades. Lab test: If a blood sample is drawn, it may take 1‐3 days to receive results confirming measles (Rubeola).
Example of a measles rash
- When a student gets diagnosed with Measles, the student should go home, if at all possible. Measles is contagious from 4 days before to 4 days after a rash appears. They may return to campus after a fever subsides and the rash fades.
- If it is not possible for the student to go home, then the ill student will be isolated or confined to a room. Meals will be delivered to the room without contact with the sick student.
- Infected students may be cohorted (housed) together if necessary, using a bathroom that is separate from well students.
- Students diagnosed with measles should be excluded from the general population until fever subsides and their rash is fading.
- All students who reside on the same floor need to be notified of this event. People who are not immune (have not received MMR vaccine) can become infected easily with the measles virus. With appropriate permission, parents should be notified as well.
- When circumstances arise that the ill student needs to leave the confined area, that student will wear a face mask. A plastic bag for proper disposal of used masks and tissues will be provided.
Housing, Dining and Housekeeping
- Staff assisting an ill student or have contact with potentially contaminated surfaces should wear impermeable, disposable gloves. Staff should avoid touching their faces with gloved or unwashed hands. Hands should be washed with soap and water for 15‐20 seconds.If soap is not available, use an alcohol‐ based hand cleaner after removing gloves. Face masks for staff members who are not ill is NOT recommended.
- Keep interactions as brief as possible.
- Environmental management of measles should include routine cleaning and disinfection, as well as more frequent cleaning of commonly touched hard surfaces such as food trays, lavatory surfaces, and door handles. Commonly used environmental cleaners certified for use in campus housing are sufficient.
For more information, please visit the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/index.html