Measles: Are You Protected?

Since January, more than 100 cases of measles have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most cases have occurred in unimmunized individuals.

We encourage all members of our community to check their vaccination status, particularly before traveling for spring break.

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.
  • BeHealthSmartSmith
    • 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.

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