1. What is measles?

Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus.

  1. What are the symptoms if I got measles?

Affected persons present initially with fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and white spots inside the mouth. This is followed 3 to 7 days later by a red blotchy skin rash, which usually spreads from face to the rest of the body. The rash usually lasts 4 - 7 days, but can persist for up to 3 weeks leaving with brownish staining and sometimes fine skin peeling.  In severe cases, lung, gut and brain can get involved and lead to serious consequences or even death.

  1. How is measles transmitted?

Measles can be transmitted airborne by droplet spread or by direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected persons, and less commonly, by articles soiled with nasal or throat secretions. The patient can pass the disease to other persons from 4 days before to 4 days after the appearance of the rash.

  1. What should I do if I intend to travel to areas with recent measles outbreak, like Okinawa?

Vaccination against measles is the most effective way to prevent the disease. For those who had received two doses of measles-containing vaccine or confirmed to have measles infection in the past are considered to be immune to measles. People who intend to travel to areas with recent measles outbreak are advised to review their vaccination history and past medical history. Non-immune individuals are advised to consult their doctors about measles vaccination, which is usually given together with mumps and rubella vaccines as Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

For those with incomplete vaccination, unknown vaccination history or unknown immunity against measles, they are advised to consult their doctor for advice on measles vaccination. As it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop and provide protection against measles, travellers are advised to plan and get vaccinated ahead.