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Healthcare Providers are reminded to report suspected cases of measles.


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What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that causes fever and rash. It is so contagious that any child or adult who is exposed to it and is not immune will probably get the disease.


How is measles spread?

Measles is spread through the air by an infected person breathing, coughing or sneezing. The virus resides in the infected person’s nose and throat mucus. When that person sneezes or coughs, droplets spray into the air and land on surfaces. The virus remains contagious on an infected surface and in the air for up to two hours. Other people become infected when they breathe in infected droplets or put their fingers in their mouth or nose after touching an infected surface.


What are the symptoms of measles?

Symptoms of measles starts with a high fever (103-105°F), cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Three to five days after symptoms start, a rash develops that spreads from the hairline on the face down to the rest of the body. The rash lasts 5-6 days and fades in the order of appearance.


If I have measles, when would I start to have symptoms?

Generally symptoms begin 7-12 days after the exposure to an infected person. However, symptoms may start as late as 21 days after exposure.


If I have measles, how long am I contagious to others?

If you have measles you are contagious from 4 days before to 4 days after the rash begins. During the time you are contagious, you should self-isolate at home, no visitors. If you need to seek healthcare, call them and let them know you are coming.


Does past infection make a person immune?

Yes. An infection makes a person immune for the rest of his or her life.


Where could I have been exposed?

You were exposed if you were in any of the following places, on the following dates, at the following times:

  • March 29th - Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4; 6:30pm until 10:00pm

  • March 30th - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Cave Creek Chapel, 38008 N. Basin Rd in Cave Creek (Desert Ridge and Pinnacle Peak Wards); 1:00pm until 5:00pm

  • March 31st - Wildflower Bread Company, 15640 N. Hayden Rd, Scottsdale; 12:00pm until 5:00pm

  • March 31st - Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4; 3:00pm until 7:00pm


What should I do if I was exposed and have symptoms?

If you were in one of the following areas at the following times and experience these symptoms, please CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER and arrange to be seen. It is very important that you call your doctor ahead of time and let them know that you may have measles.


How is measles diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose measles based on the history you provide, your exam findings and laboratory tests.


How is measles treated?

There is no treatment for measles. The best way to fight off measles is to get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water, and notify your doctor if symptoms get worse. The only prevention is through vaccination.


What should I do if I was exposed to measles and I am pregnant?

You should contact your OB provider and inform him/her of the exposure. Measles illness during pregnancy may result in a slightly higher risk of premature labor or miscarriage. However, if you are immune from measles due to vaccination or previously having measles, you are protected from becoming ill and therefore there is no risk to your fetus. Measles (rubeola) during pregnancy is NOT the same as rubella (German Measles).


My healthcare provider just diagnosed me with measles, what should I do?

If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with measles please call the Maricopa County Department of Public Health at (602) 506-6767 Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, or (602) 747-7500 after hours and on weekends (Please note these numbers will only be available during the measles response period). Stay home and do not have contact with others until 4 days after your rash illness begins.


How do I prevent measles?

The best way to prevent measles is with vaccine. Anyone born ON or AFTER January 1, 1957 should receive two doses of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. If you were born after January 1, 1957 and do not have a blood test proving that you are already immune to measles, or have not had two doses of MMR, please call your healthcare provider and ask about vaccination. Anyone born BEFORE January 1, 1957 is generally considered immune to measles.


How can I find out if I am immune to measles?

If you were born BEFORE 1957 you are considered to be immune to measles. If you were born DURING or AFTER 1957 you are immune if you received 2 doses of a measles containing vaccine. There are many different ways to find out if you were vaccinated:

  • Ask you doctor’s office if they have record of your vaccination

  • Look for your childhood medical/vaccination records

  • Ask your parents or other relatives if you were vaccinated as a child

  • If you were born in Arizona after 1997, you can contact the health department to see if there is record of your vaccinations in the state electronic vaccination database ASIIS (pronounced A-SIS)

If you are still unsure of your vaccination status, your doctor can help determine if a blood test is necessary to determine your immune status.


Should I get the measles vaccine today?

It is recommended that everyone born after 1957 get 2 doses of the MMR vaccine. If you have not been fully vaccinated, talk to your doctor. Measles vaccine can also help to protect you after exposure to measles, but ONLY if it is given within the first 72 hours after exposure.


Is the measles vaccine safe?

Most people who receive the MMR vaccine do not have any side effects. Some people experience mild side effects like fever, mild rash or swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck. Severe problems are very rare. For more information about MMR vaccine, visit Immunizations Action Coalition: Vaccine Information Statements at


Where can I get more information about measles or the MMR vaccine?

You can visit one of the following websites:

Maricopa County Department of Public Health

Measles Overview (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)



More Information About Measles


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After Hours/Weekends Number:

602.747.7111 - Statewide vaccine resources