What college students need to know about measles - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

What college students need to know about measles

(Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS) (Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - More than 100 measles cases have been reported in 14 states.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of these cases are part of a large, ongoing multi-state outbreak linked to Disneyland in California.

Now, the cases are spreading to college campuses.

Here is what you need to know:

Which colleges have measles cases?

1. University of Minnesota on the Twin Cities campus- The ill student was not a part of the large outbreak linked to Disneyland. Instead, school officials believe the student contracted the disease while traveling internationally.

2. Bard College, New York- School officials say most of the students, faculty and staff are not at risk because they have been immunized.

3. California State University at Channel Islands- The school confirmed a student was diagnosed with measles, but they do not live on campus. However, school officials say other students may have been exposed.

4. Moorpark College, California- All students, staff and faculty were notified about potential measles exposure. The school's health coordinator tells KFVS a student might have contracted an unconfirmed case of the measles.

What is measles?

The CDC reports measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that starts out feeling like a cold. Measles typically starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat. These symptoms are usually followed by a rash that spreads all over thee body.

How do I avoid it?

The short answer: get vaccinated.

The CDC reports the majority of people who have contracted the disease this year were unvaccinated and can spread when it reaches groups of people who have not received the MMR vaccine.

What are colleges doing to help students avoid measles?

College campuses like Southeast Missouri State University recommend students get vaccinated against the disease if they were not immunized as a child.

Illinois state law requires college students to show proof of immunizations against preventable communicable diseases.

That means students at Southern Illinois University are required to be vaccinated against diseases like measles.

However, SIU does allow for religious exemptions, and pregnant women may also be exempt. However, each must have supporting proof of the exemption.

Students at SIU who do receive an exemption may be excluded in the event of a disease outbreak.

How do I know if I am protected against measles?

You are considered protected from measles if you have written documentation (records) showing at least one of the following:
  • You received two doses of measles-containing vaccine, and you are a(n)— 
    • school-aged child (grades K-12) 
    • adult who was not vaccinated as a child and will be in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission, including students at post-high school education institutions, healthcare personnel, and international travelers.
  • You received one dose of measles-containing vaccine, and you are a(n)—
    • preschool-aged child 
    • adult who was not vaccinated as a child and will not be in a high-risk setting for measles transmission.
  • A laboratory confirmed that you had measles at some point in your life.
  • A laboratory confirmed that you are immune to measles.
  • You were born before 1957.
What happens if I do get measles?

You will need to isolate yourself, so stay inside and avoid contact with others. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 90 percent of people close to an infected person who are not immune are also likely to become infected.

The CDC says there is no specific treatment for measles. However, your doctor might prescribe over-the-counter medical care to help relieve symptoms and address complications.

In most cases, symptoms related to measles like fever and rash should go away after five days.

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