Information about measles

  • What is measles?
  • Confirm your immunity to the measles virus
  • Current cases of measles and measures to be taken if you are exposed
  • Resources

  1. What is measles?

    Measles is a contagious viral disease easily spread through the air when an infected person:

    • coughs;
    • sneezes; or
    • speaks.

    There is no treatment for measles; however, you can prevent it through immunization.

    Symptoms of measles

    • fever of 38.3° C or higher;
    • cough, runny nose or red eyes; and
    • a red, blotchy rash appearing 3 to 7 days after a fever starts. It begins behind the ears and on the face, spreading down the body and then to the arms and legs.

    It may take 7 to 21 days (on average, 10 to 14 days) from contact with the measles virus to the start of symptoms. This is the incubation period.

    If you have measles, you are contagious starting 2 days before showing any symptoms until 4 days after the rash appears. Symptoms usually start 3 to 7 days before the rash appears.

    If you develop any of these symptoms, stay home and call 811 or your local health centre before visiting any health care facility or provider.

    Complications of Measles

    Measles can have serious complications, such as:

    • 1 to 5 in every 100 people will get pneumonia;
    • 1 in every 1,000 people will suffer permanent brain damage;
    • 1 in 3,000 people will die; and
    • it can lead to seizures.

    At-risk individuals

    Some people have a higher risk of complications from measles.

    People at risk of complications include:

    • babies under one year of age;
    • people with a weakened immune system; and
    • pregnant people who are not adequately vaccinated against measles.

  2. Confirm your immunity to the measles virus

    For the best protection against measles, you need two doses of either the MMR or MMR-V vaccine.

    In the Yukon’s childhood immunization program, children are offered the first dose of the vaccine when they turn one. The second dose is offered between the ages of 4 and 6.

    If you are not protected against measles and come into contact with someone who has measles, you must stay away from school, work and childcare facilities. You may also have to isolate for up to 21 days. This is because measles has a long incubation period.

    Born on or after January 1, 1970?

    An MMR vaccine is recommended if you:

    • have not had two doses of measles vaccine;
    • are unable to access your immunization history; or
    • have no documented history of measles infection in the past.

    Children are eligible for their second dose when they begin school, between 4 and 6 years old.

    Born before January 1, 1970?

    An MMR vaccine is recommended if you:

    • have not received a measles vaccination; and
    • do not have a history of measles infection in the past.

    How to know if you are protected against measles

    You are considered immune and protected against measles if you have the following:

    • documentation of having received 2 doses of a measles vaccine (for example, MMR); or
    • documented laboratory-confirmed measles infection; or
    • blood test showing proof of immunity.

    For vaccination and more information about where you can get the vaccine, visit Yukonimmunization.ca/get-immunized

    If you are unsure about your measles vaccination status, contact the following locations:

    In Whitehorse:

    Whitehorse Health Centre: phone 867-667-8864

    Yukon Communicable Disease Control: Phone 867-667-8323

    Other communities:

    Contact your community health centre. 


  3. Current cases of measles and measures to be taken if you are exposed

    Exposure sites, dates and times

    To date, we have not seen any measles infections in the Yukon. If there are any changes, we will update this page with places and dates of possible exposure to measles and measures to be taken for exposed persons.