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Madison WI, May 4, 2017-- With recent news of a measles outbreak in Minnesota, Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) encourages families to make sure they have received their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunization.

As of May 3, the Minnesota Health Department has reported 34 confirmed cases of measles around the Twin Cities area. “All but one of the cases are in children 0-5 years of age and 32 of them were unvaccinated. One third of the children have been seriously ill and hospitalized,” said Diane McHugh, Immunization Coordinator for Public Health Madison & Dane County. “We are close to Minnesota. Diseases like measles are easily spread when an infected person travels from one area to another. We need to make sure that families here are fully vaccinated, especially young children."

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases. It spreads easily and rapidly through coughing and sneezing. The virus can remain in the air and infect susceptible people for up to two hours after an infected person leaves a place. Measles symptoms begin with a fever, cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. A rash then develops that usually spreads from the head to the rest of the body. Measles can be a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Complications from the disease include ear infection, pneumonia, and encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain.

Measles can be prevented through vaccination. The measles vaccination is part of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) combination vaccine and two doses are required for school entrance. PHMDC recommends that families check their immunization records and make sure all have received the recommended doses of the MMR vaccine. Two doses of this vaccine are needed for complete protection. Children should be given the first dose of MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age. The second dose is usually given before the start of kindergarten at 4 to 6 years of age. Adults who have never received the MMR vaccine and have never had measles can also get the vaccine. It is not recommended for pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems.

"MMR vaccine not only protects families, but also vulnerable members of the community who cannot be vaccinated, like babies who are too young to be immunized or those with weakened immune systems.” said McHugh. This vaccine is very safe and effective. It is much safer than getting the diseases and protects those around you as well.”  If you are not sure whether family members have received the MMR vaccination, check the Wisconsin Immunization Registry, or call your health care provider.

Public Health offers free immunizations to uninsured adults and children, and children with Medical Assistance. Vaccination clinics are held in various locations and are by appointment only. For schedule/location information and to make an appointment, call (608) 266-4821 and see our website at

For more information:
WI Department of Health Services Measles Information


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