There is a confirmed case of measles in Colorado. For additional information about measles, click here or call the free help line CO-HELP at 303-389-1687 (toll free: 1-877-462-2911).

Hand scratching an upper arm of. Skin showing a measles rash.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that can lead to complications.

The measles virus spreads easily from person to person through the air when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes.

Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red and watery eyes, and is followed by a prominent red rash that starts on the head then spreads all over the body. Individuals with measles can develop serious complications including pneumonia and brain infection.

Measles can be serious in all age groups. However, there are several groups that are more likely to suffer from measles complications:

  • Infants
  • Pregnant women
  • People with compromised immune systems, such as from leukemia or HIV infection

The best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated with the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. MMR is a routine childhood vaccine. Young children usually receive their first MMR dose at 12-15 months and the second dose around kindergarten. Adults who are college students, health care workers, or are traveling internationally to a country with active measles, should make sure they have received two doses of MMR vaccine. Two doses of the vaccine are very effective at preventing the disease. Coloradans can check their/their child’s vaccine status through an online database. If you aren’t sure if you are vaccinated, you can also call your doctor or El Paso County Public Health with questions (719-578-3199, option 5).

Do I need an MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine?

With measles cases popping up across the nation, you probably want to know that you and your family are safe from this disease. You are considered protected from measles if you meet at least one of the following criteria: With measles cases popping up across the nation, you probably want to know that you and your family are safe from this potentially deadly disease. You are presumed to be immune from measles if:

  • You were born before 1957.
  • You previously had measles.
  • You received two doses of the MMR vaccine that were at least four weeks apart or two doses of or the MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella and varicella) vaccine that were at least 12 weeks apart.

The first dose of MMR vaccine is 93 percent effective. The second dose is 97 percent effective.

If you can’t find your records or haven’t been vaccinated, you are encouraged to get two doses of MMR vaccine, spaced four weeks apart. Those who only received a single shot of vaccine should get a booster shot.