Measles, also known as Red Measles
or Rubeola, is a serious disease caused by a virus. It
is spread very easily through the air when someone
with measles coughs or sneezes, and by direct contact
with infected nose or throat secretions.
Anyone who has been in close
contact with someone who has measles can get the
disease. The chance of getting measles is reduced if
you have been immunized against measles.
Once someone has had measles they are
considered protected for life. Most people born before
1970 likely had measles as a child and are considered
to be immune. Anyone born after 1970 that has never
had measles and has not had 2 measles vaccines is at
Symptoms start about 10 days after
a person is infected with the virus. Infants and
adults are usually sicker than children and
red watery eyes, often sensitive to
small, white spots may appear on the inside of
the mouth (Koplik spots)
that starts on
Measles usually starts with a
cough, runny nose and red, puffy, watery eyes. Small
head, and then spreads
Most people recover from measles.
Measles can cause serious complications in 20% of
cases, including ear infections, pneumonia,
encephalitis (swelling or inflammation of the brain),
seizures, and deafness. In Canada, measles causes
death in approximately 1 out of every 3,000 cases.
What is the
There is no treatment for measles.
Sometimes the measles vaccine is given to people who
have been in contact with a person with measles. If
the vaccine is given early enough, it may
someone you know has measles, call your
doctor or Public Health right away. If you suspect that
you have measles, advise your doctor or healthcare
provider before you visit their office.
pregnant women worry about the measles?
When measles occurs in pregnant
women, the illness is generally not any more severe than
in other women. However, measles infection during
pregnancy has an increased risk of premature labour,
miscarriage, and low birth weight infants. There is no
evidence that measles during pregnancy causes birth
How can you
The best way to prevent measles is to
make sure that you and your children have been
vaccinated. Children should have the measles vaccine at
1 year of age, and again before they
if you have not
measles vaccine. Generally, measles-mumps-rubella
(MMR) vaccine should not be given during pregnancy, as
there may be a risk to the fetus.
To date, there is no proof that this vaccine actually
is given by
quick, short-term protection against measles, or
reduces the severity of illness of those who become
You can still get
What should I
do if I think I have measles?
Limit contact with others until you
speak with a healthcare
not go to school, work, or any public places. Do not
take part in social activities. Call your healthcare
that you may have measles and make an appointment. It is
important you are seen and that proper testing is done.
If you are
diagnosed with measles, you
close contact with others until the end of the
4th day after the rash appears. The illness can be
from 4 days before
wash your hands often or use hand
do not share drinking
stay home when you are
make sure your vaccines are up to
Canadian Coalition for
Immunization Awareness &
Canadian Paediatric Society