A toddler has a rash from measles

Case of measles in Dane County

On April 26, 2024, we reported one confirmed case of measles in Dane County. No additional cases have come from the community exposures. The outbreak is considered over on June 2 (2 incubation periods with no additional cases).

Measles spreads very easily and is preventable with immunization.

Measles is a very contagious virus that spreads easily and rapidly through coughing and sneezing. Simply being in the same room with someone who has measles is enough to become infected if you have not received the measles vaccine. If one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to them will also become infected if they are not protected.

Measles symptoms begin with a fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes, followed by a rash that usually spread from the head to the rest of the body. Measles can be a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. It can be prevented by the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) immunization.

The MMR vaccine can protect you from serious illness.

  • The vaccine is safe and effective. The best protection against measles is measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The MMR vaccine is much safer than getting the disease. MMR vaccine provides long-lasting protection against all strains of measles. The MMR vaccine and its ingredients do not cause autism
  • The MMR vaccine is a 2-dose series. Two doses are 97% effective at preventing measles and one dose is around 93% effective. 
    • Your child should get their first dose at 12 to 15 months old, and the second dose at 4 to 6 years old. Children 12 months through 12 years of age may get the MMRV vaccine, which also protects against chickenpox. 
    • Most teens and adults born after 1957 who haven't been vaccinated only need one dose. Some adults still need two doses. Visit the CDC's website for details. 
  • You do not need a booster if you are fully vaccinated. CDC considers people who received two doses of measles vaccine as children according to the U.S. vaccination schedule protected for life, and they do not ever need a booster dose. If you’re not sure whether you are fully vaccinated, talk with your doctor.
  • Most people who get measles are unvaccinated. During the U.S.’s last major measles outbreak in 2019, nearly 90% of cases were among people who weren’t vaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. When the measles finds a group of unvaccinated people, it can spread very quickly. 

Checking your immunization record

You can check vaccine records with the Wisconsin Immunization Registry. If you or your child received vaccines outside of Wisconsin, those vaccines might not be in WIR. Adults might not have their childhood vaccinations documented in WIR.

People born before 1957 are considered immune from measles. If you were born after 1957 and aren’t sure of your immunization status, your doctor can run labs to see if you have antibodies in your body.

Where to get vaccinated

  • If you have health insurance: reach out to your doctor to get caught up on your vaccines. 
  • If you don’t have health insurance or if your child is on BadgerCare: You can make an appointment with us on our website or call (608) 266-4821.

If you are unprotected and exposed, you will have to quarantine for up to 14 days.

  • Unprotected means you were born after 1957 and are unvaccinated or have no laboratory evidence of having had measles. Because measles is so infectious, if you have exposure, you will need to quarantine, which means you’ll need to stay home and not go to work, school, or any public places. 
  • Symptoms can start at any time from day 7 after exposure to day 21 after exposure. If you have been exposed and are unprotected, you will need to quarantine and monitor for symptoms for 14 total days, starting at day 7 after exposure and going through day 21. Another reason to prioritize making that appointment to get vaccinated!
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Public Health Madison & Dane County Blog