With the first case of measles being reported in San Diego County, Mark Sawyer, MD, professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine, is available to discuss the highly contagious viral infection, its symptoms and the importance of vaccinations.

“Measles is making a comeback in the United States with more than a thousand cases so far this year,” said Sawyer. “This is tragic because the virus, which can be very serious for small children, is completely preventable by vaccination.”

Measles 101

  • Measles is highly contagious and spreads by:
    • Droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing
    • Saliva from kissing or sharing drinks
    • Skin-to-skin contact (handshakes and hugs)
    • Touching a contaminated surface (blanket or doorknob)
  • Symptoms usually develop 10 to 12 days after exposure and include:
    • Fever, often greater than 104
    • Cough
    • Runny Nose
    • Inflamed eyes
    • Full body rash
  • Prevented with vaccinations
    • Measles protection can be given to most kids when they’re 12 to 15 months old and again when they’re 4 to 6 years old
  • People at highest risk during a measles outbreak are:
    • Infants who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated
    • Pregnant women
    • Persons with weakened immune systems