Measles is a highly communicable viral disease. Measles begins with a mild to moderate fever accompanied by cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Two or three days later, the fever spikes, often as high as 104-105 degrees. At the same time, a red blotchy rash appears, usually first on the face, along the hairline and behind the ears. The rash rapidly spreads downward to the chest and back and finally, the thighs and feet.
Measles is spread through coughing, sneezing, and contact with secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected individual. Measles virus can also live in the air for hours.
Your child is at risk of developing measles if she/he has never had the disease or has never received the measles vaccine. This is also true for any adult or child in your household who has never had measles or the immunization if they are exposed to someone with measles.
Vaccine requirements for enrollment: The Code of Virginia currently requires students to be vaccinated against polio, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (for children through 60 months of age).
Exceptions: The Code of Virginia provides for exemptions from immunization requirements for religious and medical reasons.
- 1. Exclusion from school of children not immunized: Upon the identification of an outbreak, potential epidemic or epidemic of a vaccine-preventable disease in a public or private school, the Commissioner shall have the authority to require the exclusion from such school of all children who are not immunized against that disease. People exposed to measles who cannot readily show that they have evidence of immunity against measles can be excluded from the school setting up to 21 days. MMR vaccine, if administered within 72 hours of initial measles exposure, or immunoglobulin (IG), if administered within six days of exposure, may provide some protection or modify the clinical course of disease. CDC. Prevention of Measles, Rubella, Congenital Rubella Syndrome, and Mumps, 2013: Summary Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 2013;62(RR04);1-34.
- 2. According to the Virginia Department of Health’s website, the percentage of students in private schools that are in compliance with the Virginia requirements for immunizations is 95%. St. Mary’s surpasses this compliance rate.
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