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Measles (rubeola) (vaccine-preventable)


Measles is a highly contagious, airborne disease caused by measles virus. The classic symptoms of cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, fever, and rash develop 8 to 10 days after a susceptible person inhales the measles virus. A characteristic blotchy red rash appears between 1 and 7 days later, starting on the face and spreading south. People with measles are most contagious during the 4 days before and the 4 days after the skin rash appears.

OHA encourages physicians (and others) to maintain a high index of suspicion for measles, especially in people without adequate measles immunization (two doses of measles-containing vaccine). Patients with the classic symptoms of cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, rash and fever, whether in doctors' offices or hospitals, should be immediately separated from other patients, phlebotomized for measles antibodies (order measles IgM antibody specifically) and reported to the communicable disease control sections of the county health department where they live. Childhood immunization is recommended.

If a case slips by, please immediately contact your county health department or the Immunization Program Epidemiology staff at DHS Oregon Health Authority  971-673-0300 for assistance with case and contact investigation and preventive therapy.

Disease Reporting

Health care providers and clinical laboratories are required to report cases and suspect cases of measles to local health departments immediately, day or night, after identification. Call 971-673-1111 to reach the state health department doctor on call.

Cases are subject to restriction on school and day-care attendance and patient care while in the communicable stage of the disease. If sufficient measures have been taken to prevent transmission, or the disease is no longer communicable, worksite, child-care and school restrictions can be removed by the local public health authority.

For county health departments:
Measles: Investigative guidelines (pdf)
Measles: Case report form (pdf)


Measles statistics (pdf) from the 2012 Oregon Communicable Disease Summary
Monthly measles monitoring in Europe from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

See Also