January 25, 2019
Dear Parent or Guardian,
The current measles outbreak investigation in Clark County, Washington, raises questions about what
parents should know in order to keep their children safe, and what their school will do if a case of
measles is confirmed at their site.
Here are some important points to keep in mind:
Measles is highly contagious. If a case is confirmed in a school or child care center, the health
department will review all staff and student vaccination records to determine the risk of
Keeping children in school/childcare is a priority, but measles is a serious disease. If an
un-vaccinated person is exposed to measles, they will not be allowed to go to school or
child care during the time period when they could become sick, usually for 21 days after
exposure. This may be extended if there are more measles cases.
People excluded from school or childcare after a measles exposure are asked to stay home
to avoid exposing others in the community.
Now is a great time for all families, teachers, and school administrators to review their
vaccine records and get their vaccines up to date.
See the reverse side for more information about measles and measles immunity.
Thank you for your partnership.
Jennifer Vines, MD, MPH
Deputy Health Officer
Multnomah County Health Department
Measles is a contagious viral disease that can spread through the air when someone sick with
measles coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by direct contact with nose discharge and spit
of someone sick with measles.
The symptoms of measles start with a fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes followed by a red
rash that usually begins on the head or face and spreads to the rest of the body.
People are contagious with measles for four days before the rash appears and up to four days
after the rash appears.
After a susceptible person is exposed to measles, symptoms usually develop in 1 to 2 weeks
but it can take up to 3 weeks.
Complications of measles include ear infection, lung infection, and in rare cases inflammation of
o About 1 in 1000 children die of measles.
Anyone who is not immune to measles and believes they have measles symptoms should
contact their health care provider or urgent care by telephone before going in to the clinic to
make arrangements to avoid exposing others to the virus.
People are considered immune to measles if any of the following are true:
o You are a pre-school age child with one measles vaccine (MMR - measles mumps, rubella)
o You are a school-age child (K-12) or adult who has had two measles vaccines (MMR -
measles, mumps, rubella).
o You were born before 1957.
o You have had measles disease (diagnosed by a health care provider and confirmed
with a lab test).
o You have had a blood test that shows you are immune to measles.
Anyone with questions about measles infection or the measles vaccine should call their primary
care provider or their local county health department:
o Multnomah County Public Health, 503-988-3406
o Washington County Public Health, 503-846-3594
o Clackamas County Public Health, 503-644-8411
Up to date information on the investigation and public exposures can be found on the Clark
County, Washington website. https://www.clark.wa.gov/public-health/measles-investigation