Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola.

If you suspect measles contact your healthcare provider or Public Health at 563-927-7551 immediately. 

Picture of a child with the measles

What Iowans should know about the measlesSymptoms

Symptoms include fever with the ‘Three Cs’ – cough, coryza, (runny nose) and conjunctivitis (infection of the eye) followed by a rash three to five days later.


Measles is transmitted airborne by droplet spread, direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of an infected person, and, less commonly by articles freshly soiled with nose and throat secretions.

Refresher on measles vaccination recommendations

  • Two doses of MMR are required for elementary and secondary school entry in Iowa. The first dose can be given at 12 months of age and the second dose can be administered 28 days later (the second dose is commonly administered as part of the kindergarten shots given between 4-6 years of age). Generally, persons who started elementary school in Iowa after 1991 and were up-to-date on all school entry vaccine requirements will have received two doses of MMR vaccine.
  • It is recommended that adults born in 1957 or later receive at least one documented dose of MMR vaccine, or have proof of immunity (measles-IgG positive titer), in order to be considered fully immunized. It is especially important for adults in that age category, and 1) work in a health care facility, 2) plan international travel, or 3) are students in a post-secondary institution, receive a second dose to be considered fully immunized.
  • Adults born prior to 1957 are presumed to have had measles and are immune since measles was so common back then; however, one dose of MMR (or other proof of immunity) is still recommended if they plan to travel internationally or are health care workers.
  • Vaccination in those who have already had measles or have already received the recommended vaccination is not harmful; it only boosts immunity. Therefore, if someone is unable to verify prior vaccination or prior history of illness, vaccination with MMR is appropriate. 

For additional information about measles vaccination, visit

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