Measles FAQ

  1. What is measles?
    • measles is a highly contagious viral illness of the lungs/respiratory system
  2. What are the symptoms of measles?
    • Measles starts with cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and fever. After about four days, a rash begins on the face and moves down the body. There may be white spots inside the mouth.
  3. How is measles spread?
    • through droplets of water, mucous, and other fine particles that spread when infected people cough, sneeze or breathe.
  4. When is someone with measles contagious?
    • Persons who have measles need to isolate themselves while they are ill and for four full days after the rash first appears because they are highly contagious during this time.
  5. Can I get measles more than once?
    • No. Once someone has had measles they are protected for life.
  6. How can measles be prevented?
    • Measles can be prevented by ensuring proper vaccination.  Measles spreads easily to persons who are not immune. Infants under one year of age, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems are most at risk.
  7. Who should get the measles vaccine?
    • Children in Ontario should get one dose of measles vaccine at age 12 months or greater and a booster vaccine between ages 4-6 years.
    • Adults born after 1970 should have 2 doses of measles vaccine
    • Adults born before 1970 should have had measles OR have had 1 dose of measles vaccine
  8. Who should not get the measles vaccine?
    • People who have had measles before
    • Pregnant women
    • If you are currently ill with fever or have an infection or illness more serious than a cold you should wait until you are recovered before getting the vaccine
    • Infants <12 months of age unless in known contact with measles or expected to be in known contact with measles
    • Children between the ages of 12 months and 4 years do not need a second booster dose until age 4 unless they are in close contact with a confirmed case (vaccine must be given within 72 hours in this case).
    • Individuals with malignant conditions of the bone marrow or lymphatic system
  9. Is the MMR vaccine safe?
    • Yes.  Most people will have no side effects.  Serious side effects from the vaccine are very rare.  Side effects are less common after the second dose of the vaccine.
  10. How effective is the MMR vaccine?
    • Two doses provide over 95% protection against measles.
  11. Could I still get measles if I am fully vaccinated?
    • Yes, but it would be rare.
  12. Do I ever need a booster vaccine?
    • Individuals born after 1970 should have 2 doses of the measles vaccine.
    • People who have received 2 doses of the vaccine (in childhood or adulthood) are considered protected and do not need a booster dose.


  1. Niagara Public Health Website –
  2. Toronto Public Health Website –
  3. MMR vaccine info –
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