Measles Outbreak: What You Need to Know

As has been reported in the news, the US is seeing the largest outbreak of measles since 1994.  While no measles cases have been reported in North Carolina to date, it is important to be aware.  The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing. It starts with fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat.  It’s followed by a rash that spreads over the body. Persons with measles are contagious from four days prior to rash onset (with the rash onset considered day zero) through four days after rash onset.

Measles outbreaks in the US are largely related to unvaccinated or under vaccinated individuals. The virus can remain in a room for a few hours after an infected person has left.  Those not vaccinated are at high-risk of contracting the virus if exposed.

We want to make sure our UNC community is well protected against measles.  Getting MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine provides the best protection against measles. Each individual should know their immunization history and make sure they have received two doses of the vaccine, or have had a positive titer consistent with immunity.

Students are required to have received the MMR vaccine. If you have questions please  call 919-966-2281 to schedule your immunization or blood test at Campus Health, or schedule online at http://campushealthappointments.unc.edu/  

Healthcare Staff and Faculty in the University’s immunization program https://ehs.unc.edu/ueohc/requirements/ can verify their status at the EHS compliance portal https://ehs.cloudapps.unc.edu/EHS/ and if there are questions they should contact the University Employee Occupational Health Clinic https://ehs.unc.edu/ueohc/.

Staff and Faculty who are not in the University’s immunization program, should verify their immunization history and if there are questions contact their personal physician.

Additional information is available at the below links