Measles is a highly infectious virus. Symptoms of measles may include:
A measles rash appears around 2 to 4 days after initial symptoms and normally fades after about a week.
Measles is passed to others in the droplets of coughs or sneezes and easily infects families and communities if children and adults are unvaccinated.
People with measles are infectious from when the symptoms develop until about 4 days after the rash first appears.
Complications of measles are more likely to develop in certain groups of people. These include:
If you're not immune to measles and become infected while you're pregnant, there can be a risk to the baby.
Measles can lead to serious complications such as liver infection (hepatitis), squints in the eyes, infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) or infection of the brain itself (encephalitis).
More common complications of measles include:
The MMR vaccine is safe and effective. You can protect yourself and your family by having the MMR vaccine. MMR vaccine is free on the NHS.
MMR vaccination requires two doses as one dose only protects 90 out of 100 people. That’s why a second dose is needed. The second dose boosts protection to almost 100 out of 100 people.
One dose is normally given within one month of a child’s first birthday, the other when they are three years and four months (with the pre-school booster).
However, if you, or your child, have not previously had two doses of MMR vaccination, please contact your GP Practice to arrange vaccination as soon as possible.
If you are unsure whether you or child has had two MMR vaccinations, please contact your GP practice to check your vaccination history and they will be able to recommend MMR vaccination for you or your child if needed.
If you or your child has already had Measles you will need the MMR vaccination as it provides protection from future mumps and rubella infections.
You should contact your GP or healthcare provider as soon as possible if you suspect that you or your child may have measles.
It's best to phone before your visit as your GP surgery healthcare provider may need to make arrangements to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.
If you're pregnant and think you have come into contact with someone with measles and you know you're not immune, you should see your GP as soon as possible.