Measles is a highly contagious, serious airborne disease that can lead to severe complications and death. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. Measles can also cause pregnant woman to miscarry or give birth prematurely. Serious health problems from measles are more common among children younger than five and adults older than 20

Measles is caused by a virus and spreads very easily when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. It spreads so easily that someone who is not protected (either by being immunized or having had measles in the past) can get the measles if they walk into a room where someone with the disease has been in the past couple of hours.

The first sign of the Measles symptoms is usually a high fever, beginning about 10 to 14 days after exposer. A runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis (red, watery eyes), and white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage.  A rash will develop after several days and may eventually spread all over the body. People can spread measles before they show symptoms. Symptoms usually last 7-10 days.

Getting the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine is the best protection against measles. The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective. Report suspected cases of measles to Public Health at (206) 296-4774 immediately. Public Health will help get people assessed and tested for measles, if indicated.