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Public Health Division
Public Health Division



What is measles?
Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease caused by a virus.

Who can get measles?
Unvaccinated people exposed to measles are very likely to become sick. People who have received measles vaccine (MMR) or have had measles disease are unlikely to catch the disease, even if they were in contact with a sick person.

Pregnant women and those who have weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV or cancer, should contact their provider if they are unsure they are immune to measles.

How is measles spread?
Measles virus spreads through the air, when a sick person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread through contact with a sick person’s nose and throat secretions. The virus can survive in the air or on surfaces for up to two hours.

What are the symptoms of measles?
Symptoms can appear 1 to 3 weeks after exposure to the virus. Symptoms can include high fever, runny nose, coughing, and watery red eyes. A rash develops on the face and neck 2 to 3 days after the fever begins, and spreads down the body. The rash usually lasts 5 to 6 days. A sick person is contagious up to 4 days before the rash appears, and 4 days afterward.

What should I do if I think I have measles?
If you have symptoms of measles, contact your healthcare provider immediately and let them know that you might have been exposed to measles.

Where can I learn more about measles?
For more information about measles, visit Contra Costa County residents can also call 925-313-6740 or 211. City of Berkeley residents can call 510-981-5300. Additional information is available at

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Public Health Division, 1947 Center Street, 2nd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
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