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Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease caused by the measles virus. The virus can travel easily through the air. Being in the same building as somebody with measles is enough to become infected. While highly contagious, measles can be prevented through routine childhood vaccination. The measles vaccine is safe and effective and are usually given in a combined vaccine called the MMR vaccine. The MMR vaccine provides protection against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. The MMR vaccination is required by Wisconsin law for school/child care attendance. Children should normally receive two doses of MMR (at 12-15 months and 4-6 years). In outbreak situations, the interval between the first and second dose may be shortened to 4 weeks. Unvaccinated adults should also receive two doses of MMR.

The symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected. Symptoms typically begin with high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. Around the same time, red spots with white centers may show up inside the mouth. Several days after the start of the symptoms, a full-body rash will appear. This red/brown blotchy rash generally starts at the forehead and then spreads to the face, neck, body, and feet. The rash can last for 5-6 days. Sometimes, measles can cause diarrhea, ear infection, and/or pneumonia. In rare cases, measles can lead to seizures and even death. Having measles while you are pregnant raises the risk of a miscarriage.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) can provide MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccinations to eligible individuals at our health center locations.


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