A measles outbreak in Ohio that begin in November has spanned to four counties and sickened nearly 60 children. Taking proactive steps could significantly reduce the possibility of something similar occurring in North Carolina.

Measles is a highly contagious virus. It starts with fever, followed by a cough, runny nose, and red eyes, then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. Starting at the head, it spreads to the rest of the body. Measles can affect individuals even before the infected person has developed a rash. According to the CDC, it is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to him or her will also become infected if they are not protected.

Measles is a vaccine-preventable infectious viral disease. The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is recommended for children beginning at 12 months old. Two doses are needed to be considered fully vaccinated, and the second dose is usually given between 4 and 6 years old. Teenagers and adults with no evidence of immunity should receive a first dose as soon as possible.

Measles is a serious disease that can lead to complications and even death.

Learn more about Measles and steps to prevent its spread here.