HOUSTON — With news of a measles outbreak in the Houston area, many of you have asked if adults need the measles vaccine or a booster. The simple answer is: It depends.

According to the CDC, if you got the standard two doses of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine after 1967, you are protected against the measles for life. 

Adults who had one dose of MMR are also considered protected for life unless they are in a setting that poses a high risk for measles transmission, including: 

Students at post-high school education institutions

Healthcare personnel 

International travelers

There's a gray area for adults who were vaccinated between 1963 and 1967. At that time, doctors were using a killed virus vaccine. Doctors later found the killed virus version was not as effective. Many children who received that version were later given the MMR version and should be fine. If you're unsure where you stand, check with your doctor. 

The CDC says anyone born before 1957 should be protected because they were likely exposed to at least two major measles outbreaks, which gives them immunity. 

If you've ever had the measles, you will not get them again. 

If you're still concerned about contracting measles, talk with your doctor. There's a blood test available to check your immunity levels for antibodies to fight measles. Adults who don't have immunity, should get two doses of MMR separated by at least 28 days.

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Measles is caused by a virus, morbillivirus, that's spread primarily via coughing and sneezing, and is recognizable by its well-known rash, which spreads to cover most of the body. The virus is extremely contagious: on average, 90% of...