Measles Virus

  • Az Dept of Health Services Logo The health and well-being of our students, staff, and community continues to be a top priority for the Marana Unified School District. In light of state and national news regarding the measles virus, below you will find  information from the Arizona Department of Health Services as well as information on how we can work together to prevent the spread of illness.Head and shoulders of boy with measles; third day of rash  

    Marana school and health care staff are on the alert for any signs of illness including measles. Four days before the rash appears, measles are contagious. Parents are encouraged to be extra diligent in monitoring their child for symptoms of illness, and requested to not send their child to school if they are sick. Parents are asked to share information with their child's school on the nature of an illness. This will allow for the tracking of absences across the district and assist our local health authority. Parents will be requested to pick up their child immediately from school if the child is determined to be sick. 

    In the event of a measles outbreak for which parents cannot provide proof of immunity for their child, per state law A.R.S. 15-873, the child will not be allowed to attend school if a suspected or confirmed case of measles is reported at that school. This includes children with exemption for personal, religious, or medical reasons. 

    What is measles?

    Measles is a highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the measles virus. 

    What are the symptoms of measles?

    Measles symptoms begin with a high fever (101F or higher) followed by a cough, running nose, and/or red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis). A red, blotchy rash begins 2-4 days after onset. The rash begins at the hairline and spreads down to the face body, and then to the hands and feet over the next 3 days. The rash lasts 5-6 days.

    Up to a third of measles cases become severe and may progress to pneumonia, seizures, encephalitis, brain damage, and death. These complications are more common among children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 years of age. 

    Symptoms typically appear 7-12 days after exposure to measles but may take up to 21 days 

    How is measles spread?

    Measles is highly contagious (spreads easily). When an infected person sneezes or coughs, droplets containing the virus spray into the air. Those droplets can land in other people’s noses or throats when they breathe or if they put their fingers in their mouth or nose after handling an infected surface. The measles virus can survive for 2 hours in air or on surfaces. It is also important to know that people with measles are infectious (can spread the disease) from 4 days before to 4 days after the rash appears. 

    What to do if you think you have measles.

    If you think you may have measles, CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FIRST for instructions on what to do. Calling ahead will avoid exposing others. 

    Measles Prevention

    The best protection against measles for individuals and the community is through routine immunization with MMR vaccine. This is a combined vaccine that protects against measles-mumps-rubella. Since MMR vaccine is not routinely given to children less than one year of age, it is especially important for family members of young children to make sure that everyone in their household is up to date on their vaccinations to protect the family from illness. 

    Please contact your health care provider or your local health department for further information about MMR vaccine. 

    We also ask that parents continue to assist in maintaining a healthy school environment by reinforcing with your child the importance of practicing good hygiene through:

    • Washing hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds. It is especially important to wash after using the toilet and preparing or handling food. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing, but they should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water.
    • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with hands as much as possible.
    • Avoid sharing of cups, eating utensils and kissing or hugging people who are ill.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or shirt sleeve instead of hands. 

    Do not hesitate to contact your child’s school health office or the District Health Services Department at 682-4770 if you have any questions. 

    Additional Information from the Arizona Department of Health Services