Help Me With...

Select from list
My Residential Property
My Driver's License or Vehicle Registration
Requesting Assistance
Health Department


Select from list
My Property Valuation
Understanding My Valuation
Paying My Property Tax
Neighborhood Sales
Building Permits
Vehicle Registration - New Stickers
Vehicle Registration - New Vehicle
Drivers License - New or Renew
New Resident Vehicle Registration
Adult Protection
Child Welfare
Child Support
Child Care
Financial Assistance
Medical Assistance
Food Assistance
Register to Vote / Update Voter Registration
Upcoming Election Information
Ballot Drop Box Locations
Voter Service and Polling Centers
Birth/Death Records
Restaurant Inspections
Community Health
Child Care Center Inspections
Septic System Inspections
Emergency Preparedness & Response
Disease Surveillance
Mental and Behavioral Health Education
Community Health and Clinical Services
Women, Infants and Children


× Close
Health Department


Measles is a very contagious illness that has recently resurged in the U.S. and worldwide. Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but recent outbreaks threaten that elimination status. Measles can result in serious illness, especially in young children and people with a compromised immune system. Fortunately, the vaccine to prevent measles (MMR) is highly effective and can prevent almost all cases of illness.

What causes measles infection?

Measles is caused by the highly contagious measles virus. Measles virus infects the respiratory system and then spreads throughout the body, causing more widespread symptoms and, in severe cases, complications.

What are the symptoms of measles?

Symptoms of measles appear 1-2 weeks following exposure. Initial symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. After 2-3 days, white spots may appear inside the mouth. After 3-5 days, a rash typically appears, beginning at the hairline and spreading downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.

How is measles spread?

Measles is very contagious. It is spread through coughing and sneezing. If a person breathes the air in a room up to 2 hours after a person with measles spent time there, they can contract measles. An infected person is contagious up to 4 days before their rash appears and for 4 days following the start of their rash.

How is measles treated?

There are no medications to directly treat measles. Comfort measures to relieve symptoms include rest, hydration, fever reducers may be helpful. If an unvaccinated person has been exposed to measles, they can get vaccinated within 72 hours to prevent illness.

Why are measles cases reappearing after a period with no measles?

The U.S. reported fewer than 100 cases of measles each year between 2000 and 2010 due to international travel. However, large outbreaks occurred in 2014 and 2019 involving community spread. These outbreaks occurred in communities where children did not receiving the MMR vaccine to prevent spread. At least 95% of the community must be vaccinated to prevent spread.

Check vaccination rates at your school using the CDPHE Immunization Data.

How can I prevent measles infection?

The best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated. The MMR vaccine provides protection against three viruses: measles, mumps, and rubella. The measles vaccine is very effective. Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus. Children should get a dose of MMR vaccine at age 12-15 months and again at ages 4-6. Infants traveling internationally should get an early dose of MMR between ages 6 and 11 months.