What is measles?

  • Measles is a very contagious disease caused by the Rubeola virus. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people close to him or her will also become infected if they are not immunized.
  • It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In fact, the measles virus can stay in the air for up to 2 hours after an infected person was there. So you can get infected by simply being in a room where an infected person once was. Someone is contagious to others 4 days before to 4 days after the rash appears.
  • Measles symptoms appear 7 to 14 days after exposure and start with a fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of flat red spots breaks out. The rash starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.
  • The best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend children receive all vaccines according to the recommended vaccine schedule.

Is this a reportable illness?

  • This is a reportable illness to CDPH. Please work with your school nurse to gather the needed information and report as soon as possible but within 24 hours.
    • This is authorized by the IL Administrative Code Section 690.
    • Call the CDPH Disease Reporting Line at (312) 743-9000 immediately during normal working hours.
    • After hours, weekends, and holidays, call 311 and ask for the communicable disease physician on-call. If you are calling from outside the City of Chicago 311 can be reached at 312-744-5000

What do schools need to do next?

  • Sick Person
    • Exclude for at least 4 days after start of rash.
  • Close Contacts
    • Notify parents and staff of close contacts to provide education around exposure, signs and symptoms, and any necessary exclusion. Call CDPH to discuss the extent of notification and a template letter.
    • Susceptible close contacts: Those who do not receive vaccine within 72 hours of exposure or immune globulin, where medically indicated shall be excluded for 21 days after onset of last case.
    • No special cleaning.



  • A draft parent letter is available through CDPH upon the confirmation of a reported case.
  • Measles One Pager - Coming Soon