From January 1 to May 31, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 981 confirmed measles cases in 26 states, including Illinois. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease caused by a virus. The virus is spread easily through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. An infected person can spread measles before they even know they are ill. About 1 in 5 people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized, and 1 to 3 out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care. Measles is especially dangerous to small children.
You have the power to protect your family against measles with a safe and effective measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. A person who has received two MMR doses has greater than 97% protection against measles. Children should receive the first shot at 12 to 15 months, and the second at 4 to 6 years of age. Adolescents or adults can receive the shots 1 month apart.
If you are unsure if you are vaccinated, see your doctor or visit a clinic or pharmacy that offers the MMR vaccine. Those planning international travel should be vaccinated before going abroad.
For additional resources, visit our Measles web page.