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David Barre
(505) 699-9237 Office

Department of Health confirms first cases of measles since 2021

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Health (NMHealth) announced today two children from Taos County are the first confirmed measles cases in the state since 2021. The children are under 10 years old, live in the same household, were not vaccinated, and developed fever and rash after returning from international travel. 

The only known exposure to the public occurred at the Aspen Medical Center Urgent Care at 411 Santa Clara Bridge Rd in Española, New Mexico, at the following dates and times: 

  • Sunday, May 26, from 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
  • Tuesday, May 28, from 9:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

“The Department of Health has identified and contacted potentially exposed people to let them know what to do and any symptoms to look for,” said Patrick Allen, NMHealth Secretary. “If someone was at this urgent care location at the above days and times and has not yet been contacted by the department, please call the NMHealth Helpline at 1-833-SWNURSE (1-833-796-8773).” 

“Measles is extremely contagious and can remain in the air up to two hours after a person with measles leaves the room,” said Dr. Miranda Durham, NMHealth’s Chief Medical Officer. “Fortunately, the measles vaccine is safe and very effective at protecting against measles.” 

Because of how easily measles can spread, people exposed have had their vaccine records checked to assure they were vaccinated. They have been advised that should they develop an illness to call their medical provider first to arrange being seen without exposing other patients to the virus in the waiting room. 

Symptoms of measles can develop between seven to 21 days after exposure, and include fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a red spotted rash that usually starts on the head or face and spreads downward to cover the rest of the body. Complications are more common in children under 5 years old and adults over 20 years old, and can include diarrhea and ear infections, as well as more serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.  About 1 in 5 unvaccinated people in the U.S. who get measles is hospitalized and some people die from measles. Measles requires laboratory testing to be confirmed. 

The measles cases in Taos County underscore the importance of all New Mexicans to check their vaccine records to ensure they and their families are up-to-date on the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine: 

  • One or more doses of MMR vaccine for preschool-aged children and adults not at high risk. 
  • Two doses of MMR vaccine for school-aged children and adults at high risk, including college students, healthcare personnel and international travelers. 

If you have other laboratory evidence of immunity, such as a positive antibody test for measles, or if you were born before 1957, you are also considered immune to measles. Two doses of measles vaccine are 97 percent effective against disease. 

Adults needing measles vaccine can contact their medical provider, local pharmacy or make an appointment at their local public health office. If you need help finding a provider for the vaccine, please call the NMHealth Helpline at 1-833-SWNURSE (1-833-796-8773). 

Vaccines are available without charge for any child in New Mexico, regardless of insurance status, under the Vaccines for Children program.  Children who have no insurance coverage can get the vaccine from their health care provider or at their local public health office. Public health office contact information can be found online at  

Medical providers are required by state statute to report suspect cases of measles to the Department of Health’s Epidemiology and Response Division. The NMHealth Helpline, 1-833-SWNURSE (1-833-796-8773), can also be used by them to report cases.

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