Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
January 29, 2015

Contact Leah Bucco-White, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-9356

Measles Cases Showing Up in Nebraska

Lincoln—The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services received reports of two confirmed measles cases in eastern, Nebraska within in the last week. Both cases are in the Three Rivers Public Health Department District that covers Washington, Dodge and Saunders counties. One of the cases is linked to the Disneyland measles outbreak.
“Measles is a highly contagious disease and it is possible we will see additional cases in Nebraska,” said Dr. Joseph Acierno, Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS.
DHHS continues to work with local health departments and health care providers to help reach Nebraskans at risk for exposure and make sure they receive testing and/or vaccination if appropriate.
Those most at risk of being infected with the measles are people who have had no doses or only one dose of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine or who have not had the measles.
Measles spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of measles generally begin within 7-14 days after exposure and usually in about 10 days.  It starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. It can also cause severe complications like pneumonia and encephalitis.
Public health officials stress that it’s good for all Nebraskans to know if they have measles immunity. A person is considered immune if they have two doses of vaccine or were born before 1957.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children get two doses of MMR vaccine:
  • First dose – 12-15 months old
  • Second dose – 4-6 years old
Measles vaccination is highly effective. Studies show more than 97 percent of people who receive two doses of vaccine are protected.
Measles is not a new disease but it’s something we haven’t seen very often in Nebraska over the last several decades. There was one measles case in 2014 and prior to that, the last measles case in a Nebraska resident was in the early 90s.
Measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000 thanks to vaccination. However, cases continue to crop up. According to the CDC, because we’re such a mobile society, many times measles is brought into the U.S. when people visit from other countries or when unvaccinated Americans get measles while traveling abroad.
Prior to the creation of a vaccine in 1963, nearly all children got measles by the time they were 15 years old.
For additional measles information, go to: