Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It is passed through direct contact with someone who is infected, through the air, or by touching the surfaces that an infected person touched. It can remain in the air or on surfaces for up to 2 hours — causing an infection after the contagious person has left.
Most measles related deaths are due to complications from the disease, especially in children under the age of 5.


The measles vaccine is delivered in two doses and is sometimes incorporated with the rubella and/or mumps vaccines. Receiving two doses of the measles vaccine ensures lifelong protection. Learn more about rubella here.
Building on experiences in the Americas region, and in countries that successfully eliminated indigenous transmission of measles, vaccination campaigns focus on improving coverage to ensure high population immunity against measles. Additionally, an emphasis on outbreak preparedness, timely detection and rapid response, as well as communication and public engagement support the overall global vaccination strategy.


The United Nations Foundation, American Red Cross, U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization founded the Measles & Rubella Initiative (M&RI) in 2001 to ensure no child dies from measles or is born with congenital rubella syndrome. Since the launch of the campaign, Shot@Life is on track to raise enough funding to help immunize more than 1 million children from measles.*


In 2014, there were 114,900 measles deaths globally- that is approximately 314 deaths every day or 13 deaths per hour.

Worldwide measles vaccination has resulted in a 79% drop in measles deaths.


The World Health Organization: Measles & Rubella Initiative:
*Funds raised through 2015. Calculation based on estimated cost of vaccine for two doses plus delivery.