Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. There have been several cases in Ontario in 2024, mostly travel-related. Check your vaccine records to make sure you and your family are protected from measles before travelling. Contact your healthcare provider if you have questions or to book an appointment.

Measles is a very contagious viral infection that spreads from person to person through airborne droplets (coughing, sneezing, etc.). The measles virus can be active and contagious in the air or on infected surfaces for as long as two hours. You can catch measles by being near an infected person, even if you’re in the same room for a short period. Someone who is contagious with measles can spread it to others from four days before a rash appears to four days after the rash appears. Measles is most common in children but can affect anyone who is not immune. Measles vaccination is highly effective at preventing measles - one dose is 93% effective and two doses is 97% effective.


  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Tiny white spots inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)
  • Red, blotchy rash that starts on the face and spreads downward (generally starts 3-7 days after symptoms begin)

Vaccination recommendations

  • Children should receive two doses measles vaccine - MMR at 12 months, and a second dose of MMR-V at age 4-6.
  • Those born before 1970 are presumed to have acquired natural immunity to measles.
  • Adults born from 1970-1978 may have only received one dose and a second dose is recommended.
  • Adults born after 1978 likely received two doses if they attended school in Ontario.
  • Adults who were in elementary or high school in 1996 and beyond, likely received two doses of measles vaccine (in most provinces).
  • All healthcare workers, students in post-education settings, travellers to destinations outside of Canada and military personnel are recommended to have two doses of measles containing vaccine (or evidence of immunity).
  • Adults who are unsure of their vaccination status should speak with their healthcare provider about getting vaccinated with at least one dose of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR).

Travel vaccine recommendations

  • If you’re planning to travel internationally, it’s important to ensure you are vaccinated.
  • Check with your healthcare provider or visit a travel clinic at your local pharmacy at least 4-6 weeks before travelling to discuss vaccination recommendations based on your destination. It is best to be vaccinated at least two weeks prior to travel.
  • Infants going to areas where there is measles can get the vaccine at 6 months of age before travel.
  • Children going to areas where there is measles can get the MMR-V booster at 3 and a half years of age before travel.


There is no specific treatment for measles. Rest, hydration and over-the-counter medications for fever and discomfort can help manage symptoms. Most people will recover in 2-3 weeks.

Preventing measles

  • The most effective way to prevent measles is by vaccination.
  • Practice infection prevention measures such as frequent handwashing, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and wearing a mask in enclosed indoor spaces, to help prevent the spread of the virus.

More information

If you suspect you or your child may have measles, contact your healthcare provider immediately. For questions about measles, call 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006 to speak with a public health nurse.