Measles Information from Pediatric Healthcare

Updated May 13, 2019

The Alabama Department of Health reported last month that a 9-month-old in St. Clair County was diagnosed with measles. The latest results of testing revealed that this child DID NOT have measles, according to the CDC.

Nonetheless, we want to inform our Pediatric Healthcare families about measles and the CDC recommendations.

Measles is a very contagious viral respiratory illness that causes high fever, followed by cough, runny nose, and red eyes (conjunctivitis). Anywhere from 1-7 days after these symptoms begin, a rash develops. The rash starts on the face and spreads across the body. Patients may also have small white spots on the inside of the mouth on the cheek which may occur from 2 days before and up to 2 days after the rash. Complications may include ear infection, hearing loss, dehydration, pneumonia, or rarely an infection of the brain.

From the time that a person is exposed to measles, it can take 7-21 days for signs and symptoms to occur with an average of 10-14 days. People are contagious from 4 days before the rash develops until 4 days after the rash. There is no specific anti-viral therapy for measles, so prevention by vaccination is the best approach.

All children should receive two doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine:

  • The first dose at 12 through 15 months of age. This one dose conveys 95-98% protection.
  • The second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. MMR vaccine is given later than some other childhood vaccines because antibodies transferred from the mother to the baby can provide some protection from disease and make the MMR vaccine less effective until about 1 year of age.

Children traveling internationally:

  • Infants 6 through 11 months of age should receive one dose of MMR vaccine. Infants who get one dose of MMR vaccine before their first birthday should get two more doses (one dose at 12 through 15 months of age and another dose separated by at least 28 days).
  • Children 12 months of age and older should receive two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.

We will continue to monitor the situation and inform you of any significant changes. If you have questions, contact our office at 334-273-9700.