While there have been no confirmed cases of measles in Virginia as of May 10, the Alexandria Health Department is monitoring the greatest number of measles cases in the United States since 1994 and assisting local healthcare providers in protecting residents.
Measles is a very contagious viral disease that is spread by direct contact with infectious droplets or by air when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes. The measles virus can remain airborne for up to two hours after an infected person leaves an area.
Vaccination is the single best preventive method to avoid getting measles. Most adults and children who have followed the recommended vaccine schedule are immune to measles and do not need a booster shot. If you are unsure if you have received the vaccine, please consult with your doctor. If you are unable to locate your vaccination records, your doctor can perform a blood test to determine if you are immune. Adults and children older than six months should be protected against measles before traveling, and especially if traveling internationally.
It is important to call your doctor if you have not been vaccinated for measles and are experiencing common symptoms of the disease (which includes having a fever, cough, runny nose or red eyes, followed by a rash), or if you believe you were exposed to measles recently through travel abroad, travel to communities where measles is occurring, or were exposed to someone known to be sick with measles. It is crucial to call ahead and inform the doctor’s office that you may have measles. This is to help your doctor take precautions to prevent others from being exposed.
For more information and frequently asked questions about measles, visit alexandriava.gov/Health.