Measles is a very contagious disease that spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The measles virus can live up to two hours in airspace where an infected person coughed or sneezed, even after they leave the area.
Measles can be serious for young children. It can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and death.
While the number and size of outbreaks is relatively low, there have been many recent outbreaks.
Some of the outbreaks originated in people from other countries, where measles is more common, bringing the disease into the U.S.
Vaccinating your child not only prevents your child from getting sick, but also helps prevent outbreaks from reaching people who cannot be vaccinated against measles such as infants under 1 year of age or people with certain medical conditions.
The vaccine for measles also protects against mumps and rubella.
All children should get two doses of MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) or MMRV (measles-mumps-rubella-varicella) vaccine starting at age 1 year to protect against measles. Some teens and adults may also need MMR vaccine if they did not get two doses when they were younger.