Prevention of Measles
Widespread use of the measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99 percent reduction in measles cases in the United States, compared to the pre-vaccine era; however, measles is common in other countries where it spreads rapidly, and can be easily brought into the United States. If measles vaccinations were stopped, measles would return to pre-vaccine levels in the United States, and hundreds of people would die from measles-related illnesses.
People who have a generalized rash and fever (as well as people who have fever and respiratory symptoms) following exposure to a person with measles may be infected with the measles virus. People who are potentially infectious with measles should minimize the risk of transmission by limiting contact with other people who may be susceptible to the disease. Contact should be limited until:
- A medical diagnosis, excluding measles, has been established
- The symptoms have resolved completely
- 4 days have passed since the onset of the rash.
People who are potentially infectious with measles should especially avoid public transportation (including commercial airlines) and crowded indoor areas. Patients who suspect they may have measles should call ahead before visiting a clinic or hospital, so that arrangements may be made for the healthcare provider to attend to the patient without exposing others in the facility to measles.