Measles: Are You Protected?

Before celebrating at Reunion and Commencement and traveling by air, train, bus or public transit, the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness strongly urges all students, families, staff and faculty to be sure you’re protected against measles. Young children, elders and those with weakened immune systems are at risk for this highly contagious disease.

As of late April, almost 800 cases of measles have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most cases have occurred in unimmunized individuals. This is the highest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

The Schacht Center strongly urges all those with young children, elders, cancer and other medical conditions, or who are planning travel or seeking pregnancy, to check their vaccination status. If you or your family members were born between 1963 and 1967, and before 1989, you may not be protected. Measles is spread through the air, where it lives for hours. Just breathing the air in a space recently occupied by an infected person may place you and loved ones at risk for this dangerous disease.

What You Should Know

  • Measles is a highly contagious virus, and it can be serious.
  • 90 percent of people who are not vaccinated against it will contract measles if exposed to it.
  • One dose of vaccine is 93 percent effective against measles. Two doses are 97 percent effective.
  • The measles virus is spread by respiratory secretions through coughing and sneezing.
  • Measles can be spread four days before symptoms appear, and the virus can live in the air and on surfaces for two hours.

How to Protect Yourself and Those Around You

  • If you have not had two doses of measles vaccine, get vaccinated now.
    • In the U.S., measles is usually given as part of the MMR or MMRV vaccine.
    • The MMR vaccine immunizes against measles, mumps and rubella.
    • The MMRV vaccine immunizes against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella.
  • Check your immunization records. Students should check their immunization records on the patient portal.
  • The vaccine is available for students at the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness by appointment or at retail pharmacies.
  • Students with private insurance should contact their insurance company about vaccine coverage. Private insurance may only pay for vaccines administered in a particular office or pharmacy.
  • Students, staff and faculty may seek a vaccine from their physician’s office or at retail pharmacies without an appointment.
    • Persons born before 1957 are considered immune to measles.
    • If you or your loved ones cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, please contact your physician’s office for advice.
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    • Wash your hands.
    • Cover your cough or sneezes: cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
    • Don’t touch your face, nose or eyes.
    • Disinfect commonly touched items like faucets, doorknobs, keyboards and phones.

CNN: “No Legitimate Reason” for Not Vaccinating

CDC: Get Vaccinated and Prevent Measles

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