Munson Health

Back to Document

by Alan R




Symptoms, which usually occur 8-12 days following exposure, include:
Full recovery, without scarring, generally takes 7-10 days from the onset of the rash.


Measles is caused by a virus. It cannot be treated with antibiotics. The focus is on relieving symptoms.


In most cases, complications are rare. You may need to be hospitalized if you have a severe case. Complications may include:
If you are diagnosed with measles, follow your doctor's instructions .
If you are diagnosed with measles, follow your doctor's instructions .


Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent measles. The vaccine contains live viruses that can no longer cause disease. There is a single vaccine to prevent measles. It is also available in combination with:
The regular schedule for giving the vaccine is at age 12-15 months and again at age 4-6 years. If you or your child has never been vaccinated against the measles, talk to the doctor.
In some cases, the MMR vaccine is given within three days after exposure. This can prevent or reduce symptoms. Immune globulin is given to certain unvaccinated people within six days of exposure. This is usually for infants and pregnant women.
If you or someone in your family gets measles, family members may need to be vaccinated or given immune globulin.
Ask your doctor if the vaccine is right for you. In general, avoid the vaccine if you:
  • Have had severe allergic reactions to vaccines or vaccine components
  • Are pregnant—Avoid pregnancy for 1-3 months after receiving the vaccine.
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Have a high fever or severe upper respiratory tract infection
If you are not vaccinated, avoid contact with someone who has measles. Recent outbreaks of measles have occurred in Europe and the United States. They may have been caused by increasing numbers of children who are not vaccinated. Discuss the benefits of vaccination with your doctor.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases



Caring for Kids

Public Health Agency of Canada



Bellini WJ, Rota JS, Lowe LE, et al. Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis: more cases of this fatal disease are prevented by measles immunization than was previously recognized. J Infect Dis . 2005 Nov 15;192(10):1686-93.

Kassianos G. Vaccination for tomorrow: the need to improve immunization rates. J Fam Health Care . 2010;20(1):13-6.

Measles (rubeola). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: . Updated July 1, 2011. Accessed June 7, 2013.

Peter G, Gardner P. Standards for immunization practice for vaccines in children and adults. Infect Dis Clin North Am . 2001;15:9-19.

5/27/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Measles—United States, January—May 20, 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011 May 20 early online.


Revision Information