Skip to main content

How is measles spread?

Page last updated 26 June 2018

The measles virus is spread when a person breathes in the measles virus that has been by coughed or sneezed into the air by an infected person. In fact, measles is one of the most easily spread disease of all human infections – by just being in the same room as an infected person can result in you contracting the virus yourself. 

The virus can survive in airspace where an infected person as coughed or sneezed for up to two hours – so people can contract the measles by breathing in that same contaminated air, or by touching a contaminated surface, then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

The measles can spread to others from four days before the rash appears, through to four days after it appears. 

Sources & Citations

  1. NSW Government, Department of Health, Measles Fact Sheet. Available at (accessed 7 April 2018)
  2. Centers for Disease Control, Measles – Transmission. Available at (accessed 7 April 2018).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0133a - Date of preparation May 2018