Measles Outbreak In 21 States: Symptoms, Vaccination Effectiveness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday it was monitoring an outbreak of measles spread across 21 states across the country. Some 107 people were reported to have contracted the viral infection.

The states involved in the outbreak included Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and D.C.

How Measles Spread

Measles are spread by the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. A person can contract measles “just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, up to two hours after that person is gone,” the CDC said.


Symptoms of the measles virus typically occur between seven and 14 days after infection. Measles symptoms often begin with high fever, runny nose, cough and watery eyes. As symptoms progress, an infected person may show white spots called Koplik spots inside their mouth as well as a rash on their face and body. The rash may be accompanied by a high fever.

In certain instances, the measles can be deadly.


The majority of people who contracted measles were unvaccinated, the CDC reported. Contraction is preventable by way of the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.

The CDC urges children to get two doses of MMR: the first beginning somewhere around 12 months of age and the second at 4 to 6-years-old. One dose of the vaccination is around 93 percent effective, while two doses are about 97 percent effectiveness.

“Widespread use of the measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99 percent reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era,” the CDC said.

Past Outbreaks

The largest outbreak of measles in recent years occurred in 2014, when 667 cases of measles were reported across 27 states, according to the CDC. In 2017, some 118 cases of measles were reported.

A child receives a vaccination against measles by a family physician on April 16, 2018 in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. A measles outbreak has been reported in 21 states in the U.S. DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images