Measles is extremely contagious, and can be serious, especially for young children.

Measles, also called rubeola, is the most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses. It is a leading cause of death among children worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent has information about measles outbreaks nationwide.

There are confirmed cases of measles in Washington every year. The best protection against measles is to get vaccinated. Make sure to protect yourself and your children with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Measles Symptoms


Measles starts with:

  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • coughing
  • runny nose
  • red and watery eyes
  • tiredness

After a few days, a rash begins, which usually starts on the face and can spread over the entire body.

In some people, especially people who are have chronic medical problems, are pregnant, or are malnourished, measles also leads to serious problems such as pneumonia, brain damage, blindness, deafness, and death.

Measles usually lasts 7 to 10 days.

About the MMR Vaccine

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Another vaccine, called MMRV, protects against those three diseases and chickenpox as well.

Kids should get two doses: One dose between ages 12 and 15 months, and the second between ages 4 and 6 years. If your family will be traveling outside the United States, your baby may need to receive their doses earlier than this.

Adults born after 1956 may need a dose of MMR if they have not already had it.

Talk to your healthcare provider to get the MMR or MMRV vaccine for your children. Washington provides MMR and MMRV vaccines at no cost for kids through age 18, and they're available from healthcare providers across the 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.

Watch Making a Disease Disappear (a TED Talk at the CDC)

Stand Together to Protect Us All: Jaxon's Story

Paula Abalahin of Port Orchard, Washington, shares her son Jaxon's story:


“My son Jaxon got measles when he was 7 months old, too young to get immunized. He got better, but five years later he started having seizures. He lost the ability to swallow, speak, and walk. After suffering greatly, Jaxon died a few years later. His condition was caused by the measles virus.

“We learned that, even though there is an effective vaccine, measles is still a leading cause of death among young children worldwide. And in our community, parents are not fully immunizing their children, which puts them at risk to get and spread measles and other terrible diseases. I hope my story can help prevent another child from experiencing what my son went through.”

Measles Resources

For Parents and the Public

For Local Health Jurisdictions

For Providers

For Schools and Child Cares

Measles Information in Other Languages

Measles Basic Information Flyer

Other Items

Measles Multimedia

More videos, podcasts, posters, and other media items