May 2, 2019

Measles Toolkit Icon

Bethesda, MD (May 2, 2019) — Despite having eliminated measles in the US more than a decade ago, the US is once again seeing record-setting cases of the vaccine-preventable disease. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) has experts available to talk about measles, the current outbreaks, and the importance of measles vaccination.

Measles Toolkit“No one should have to suffer from measles,” said NFID Medical Director William Schaffner, MD. “We have had a safe and effective measles vaccine for more than 40 years. After eliminating measles in the US in 2000, we appear to have turned back the clock because of low immunization rates.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported more than 700 measles cases in 22 states this year—about 70 percent of them in unvaccinated individuals. This is the largest number of measles cases reported in the US since the last major outbreak in 1994.

Measles is a highly infectious respiratory disease that can result in severe, sometimes permanent, complications including pneumonia, seizures (jerking and staring), brain damage, and death. Measles is highly contagious and spreads easily by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. In fact, it is so contagious that if an individual has measles, nine out of 10 of their close contacts who are not immune will also become infected. Symptoms include rash, cough, runny nose, eye irritation, and fever. Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the rash appears.

Measles can be serious:

  • About one in four people in the US who get measles will be hospitalized
  • One out of every 1,000 people with measles will develop brain swelling, which could lead to brain damage
  • One or two out of 1,000 people with measles will die, even with the best care

Measles can be prevented by the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is recommended in the US for children, adults born in 1957 or later, international travelers, and anyone who is unsure about their vaccination status.

About the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

Founded in 1973, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare professionals about the burden, causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious diseases across the lifespan. Visit for more information.

Contact: Diana Olson at 301-656-0003 x140

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