What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a measles virus. Measles infection causes a rash all over the body. Measles is very contagious - 9 out of 10 people that come into contact with someone who has measles will become infected if they are not protected. An unprotected person can get measles simply by being in a room where a person with measles has been, even up to two hours after that person has left. 

What are the symptoms of measles?

  • High fever 
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes
  • Rash
Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth.

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. 

How is measles spread?

Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. Measles virus spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

An infected person can spread measles to others even before knowing he/she has the disease—from four days before developing the measles rash through four days after.

Every year, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers who get measles while they are in other countries. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk. 

How do I know if I am protected against measles?

You are considered protected from measles if you have written records documenting at least one of the following:
  • You received two doses of measles-containing vaccine, and you are 
    • a school-aged child (grades K-12)
    • an adult who was not vaccinated as a child and will be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission, including students at post-high school education institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers aged 12 months and older.
  • You received one dose of measles-containing vaccine, and you are
    • An infant aged 6-11 months who will be traveling oversees 
    • a preschool-aged child
    • an adult who was not vaccinated as a child and will not be in a high-risk setting for measles transmission.
  • A laboratory confirmed that you had measles at some point in your life.
  • A laboratory confirmed that you are immune to measles.
  • You were born before 1957.

How can I protect myself from measles?

The best protection against measles is measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. MMR vaccine provides long-lasting protection against all strains of measles.

The Chester County Health Department provides immunizations for all ages - infants, children, adults and seniors. There is no charge for immunizations for underinsured and uninsured families, and for children with state medical insurance. Vaccines are also available for a fee.

Walk-in Immunization Clinic Hours

  • Tuesdays 9am - 4pm 
  • Wednesdays 11am - 6pm 
  • Fridays 9am - 4pm 
Please arrive 30 minutes before closing to ensure we will be able to meet your immunization needs