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Health - Public Health News

Posted on: January 30, 2019

Measles - Prevention and FAQs

With dozens of cases of measles confirmed in Washington State, we are reminding individuals about the importance of making sure you are up to date on the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine). 

Most people have immunity to measles because they have already been vaccinated. Getting the MMR vaccine is the best way to prevent the spread of measles. In fact, the MMR vaccine is 97% effective in preventing measles in people who have had two doses of it. 

There are no cases of measles in Whatcom County, but Clark County Public Health and Seattle-King County Public Health have identified many related measles cases. You can find the most up-to-date information about the measles outbreak from the Washington State Department of Health.

Looking for information about the MMR vaccine?

  • Check your vaccination status to see if you are up-to-date on the MMR vaccine. There are two ways to do this:
    • Visit MyIR.net – If you have a MyIR account, you can view, download, and print your family’s vaccination information.
    • Call the location where you usually get your vaccinations (local pharmacy, healthcare provider). For children, you can also ask your child’s school for their vaccination records.
  • Visit www.vaccinefinder.org to find a vaccine location near you. You can get the MMR vaccine from your usual healthcare provider and at local pharmacies and clinics. Your health insurance will cover the cost of the MMR vaccine if you need it.
  • Free MMR vaccines are available for children under age 18 at healthcare providers across Washington State. Providers may charge an office visit fee and a fee to give the vaccine, called an administration fee. However, if you can’t afford the administration fee, you may ask your provider to waive it.
  • Find out more about who should get the MMR vaccine and when at www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Immunization/DiseasesandVaccines/MMRMeaslesMumpsRubellaVaccine

What is measles?

Measles is a very contagious disease that affects the respiratory system and is caused by a virus. The virus spreads easily to other people when someone coughs or sneezes. It can stay in the air for up to two hours after an infected person leaves a room.

Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat. These symptoms are followed by a rash that spreads all over the body.

For more information about measles, including what to look for:

Visit our measles page for more information.

Measles fact sheets are available in these languages. Contact us if you need this information in another format or language.

For more measles FAQs, visit our measles page.

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