Measles outbreaks in the United States and Florida: FSU expert available to comment

George Rust, MD, MPH is a professor and director of the Center for Medicine and Public Health at Florida State University.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations for health care providers due to a rise in measles cases across the United States, including an outbreak in Florida. In 2000, measles was declared effectively eradicated from the U.S.

Measles can be especially dangerous for babies and young children, with symptoms including watery and red eyes, runny nose, high fever, cough and the characteristic blotchy measles rash that typically appears on the face three to five days after initial symptoms.

George Rust, director of Florida State University’s Center for Medicine and Public Health, is available to speak to the media about these developing outbreaks and the implications on public health and disease control. To arrange an interview, email

“Measles had been largely eliminated in the U.S., but we see sporadic outbreaks especially when immunization levels drop even a little bit. The vaccine is very effective. If the immunization rate in a school or a community is above 93% or so, herd immunity can work. Below that, outbreaks and spread can occur.”

“Measles is highly contagious, with 90% of unvaccinated people who are exposed likely to catch it. Measles is also serious with historically one in five hospitalized and one in 1,000 having encephalitis. As many as one in 3,000 cases die. Cases and deaths are more common overseas in under-resourced settings.”