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Measles Information

Measles Update
Posted on 02/19/2019

A large measles outbreak is occurring in Clark County, Washington, primarily affecting children and adolescents.  There has also been a case in King County, but we anticipate that further spread to Snohomish County could occur.  Some schools in Edmonds School District have lower measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage than needed to prevent transmission during a measles outbreak. Public Health will exclude non-immune/susceptible students, staff and volunteers for 21 days after the last exposure at the school.  

To decrease the risk of measles in Snohomish County, Public Health has encouraged us all to review our immunity status.

Persons are considered immune to measles if they have:

Written documentation of adequate vaccination that includes:

  • One or more doses of MMR vaccine for preschool children and adults not at high risk, administered on or after their first birthday
  • Two doses of MMR vaccine for all school-age children (K-12th grade) and adults at high risk (e.g. college students, healthcare personnel, persons working with children and youth, medically fragile individuals and international travelers), administered on or after their first birthday
  • Birth before 1957
  • Laboratory evidence of immunity to the measles infection.

Public Health is recommending MMR vaccine for those who do not meet the criteria above.  To make sure your family is up to date on MMR vaccine you can check with your healthcare provider or Sign up for MyIR, which lets you see your family’s vaccination records at home wa.myir.net/.  MMR vaccine is available to all Washington children and youth at no cost.  Families should discuss whether to get this vaccine with their health care provider.

If there is a measles case and there is exposure at a local school, Edmonds School District will work with Public Health to exclude students.  Schools will be prepared to support and meet the educational needs of students during the exclusion.




What is measles?

Measles (Rubeola) is caused by a virus and it is highly communicable.  Measles symptoms include high fever (up to 105 degrees F), with cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes.  After two or three days, tiny white spots (called Koplik spots) may appear in the mouth and a raised red rash begins, usually on the face.  The rash spreads rapidly over the neck, upper arms and chest.  The rash may spread over the back, abdomen, and rest of the arms, thighs, legs and feet.  The rash can last 4-7 days.  Measles can have some serious effects, such as hearing loss, pneumonia and brain impairment. 

Symptoms usually appear 8-12 days after exposure.  The rash appears about 14 days after exposure.

How is measles spread?

Measles is spread from person-to-person by infected droplets from the mouth, nose and throat of a person with measles.  Droplets can spread through the air directly onto another person’s hands and face through coughing and sneezing. 

How long is a person infectious (contagious)?

Persons with measles are contagious from 1-2 days before the onset of symptoms and five days before the rash begins and four days after the rash appears. 

How can I prevent or control the spread of the measles illness?

Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease and the best way to prevent the disease.  Measles vaccines is available in combination with rubella and mumps (MMR).  Do not share items that could be contaminated with saliva (cups), dispose of articles that are soiled with nose and throat mucus, cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with arm not your hand, and handwashing with soap.

What can I do if I am exposed to measles?

If you are exposed to someone who has measles, consult your health care provider immediately.  Stay home from work, school, child care and any other public outings until further recommendation by your provider.  Measles in Washington State is a reportable disease and will be reported to the local public health office. 

For more information on Measles https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/IllnessandDisease/Measles

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