Measles (Rubeola)

  • Medical Author:

    Dr. Eddie Hooker is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services Administration at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Louisville and at Wright State University. His areas of expertise include emergency medicine, epidemiology, health-services management, and public health.

  • Medical Author: Mary K. Bister, MD
  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

What should I do if I am not sure if I have been properly vaccinated or my vaccine records have been lost?

If you are unsure of your vaccine status against measles (especially if you are going to work in health care), you should have a blood test to measure your titer of antibodies against measles.

What is herd immunity? Why should people care if others choose not to be vaccinated?

Herd immunity is an increased effectiveness of a vaccine because significant proportion of a population is immunized. Some people do not actually develop immunity even though they have received the vaccine, and others, because of legitimate medical conditions (like cancer), cannot receive the vaccine. Those people are put at extreme risk of infection and even death by those who simply choose not to be vaccinated. It is reasonable for everyone to expect others to be vaccinated.

Can the measles virus be used to cure cancer?

In 2014, there were case reports of patients with multiple myeloma (a type of blood "cancer") being treated with a genetically engineered (altered) measles virus that attacks tumor cells. This is called virotherapy. This type of therapy has been used since the 1950s, but now there is renewed hope that this new use of the measles virus will bring hope to many patients with multiple myeloma.

Where can I find more information about measles?

"Measles (Rubeola)," U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Chapter 7: "Measles," VPD Surveillance Manual

"Measles," World Health Organization

Handouts: Clinic Resources, Immunization Action Coalition

"Measles Vaccination Rates for Preschoolers Below 90 Percent in 17 States," Trust for America's Health


United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Notes from the Field: Measles Transmission Associated With International Air Travel -- Massachusetts and New York, July -- August 2010." MMWR 59.33 Aug. 2010: 1073.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Use of Combination Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Varicella Vaccine: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)." MMWR 59(RR03) 2010: 1-12.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/12/2016

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