May 20, 2019
Dear UChicago Students,
With the number of measles cases reported in the U.S. increasing, I wanted to share some important information about this disease, including how to make sure you know your immunization status.
More than 700 cases of measles have been reported in the U.S. since the start of 2019. Currently, there have been no confirmed cases at the University of Chicago. However, the rising number of cases nationally, including Illinois, poses an ongoing risk of measles transmission.
Measles is a highly contagious virus that is spread through direct contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. Symptoms generally appear 7 to 14 days after a person is infected and include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. A few days later, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth followed by a red, blotchy rash on the face, which spreads to other body parts.
The most effective method for preventing measles is the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, which provides long-lasting protection against all strains of measles. With few exceptions, University of Chicago students are required to be vaccinated for measles and show proof of immunization upon matriculation.
We encourage individuals to know their immunity status for measles. Any one of the following is considered evidence of measles immunity:
- Birth before 1957
- Documented administration of two doses of live measles virus vaccine
- Laboratory (serologic) proof of immunity or lab confirmation of previously having had the disease
If you do not have any of the above evidence for immunity, or are unsure about your vaccination status, I encourage you to log into the UChicago immunization self-service portal or contact the Student Health Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More detailed information about measles can be found on the CDC website.
Marius Commodore, MD
Medical Director, Student Health Service