Several states reported cases of measles exposure this month, leading to health officials issuing warnings of the contagious disease. Measles is a highly infectious rash illness, symptoms of which generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected.

Two restaurants in Des Moines, the capital city of Iowa, reported that a confirmed measles patient from Missouri visited the eateries in April. This reportedly may have infected Iowans. Warnings were issued for Hardee's, 3621 Merle Hay Road in Des Moines, and Panera Bread, 2310 Southeast Delaware Ave. in Ankeny, were the infected person visited.

"This is just not a disease that you want to get at all," Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, medical director at the Iowa Department of Public Health said. "We don't want people to think 'this is no big deal, it's a mild disease, don't worry about.' One of the reasons we have a vaccine for it is because it can be very bad."

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) also issued a warning Monday about potential exposure to measles at two locations in southeastern Minnesota. A non-Minnesota resident with confirmed measles reportedly traveled to two locations on two separate days. On April 13, the infected person was at the McDonald's restaurant, 172 Main Street, Winona, and on April 16 the person visited the Freeborn County Co-op gas station 1840 Margaretha Avenue, Albert Lea.

“If someone has been exposed and has signs consistent with measles, it is important that they stay isolated from others to prevent spreading the disease and call their health care provider,” Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease for MDH, said in a news release.

Health officials urged people who visited the two locations on the given dates to check for symptoms of measles and also check their vaccination status.

Meanwhile, the Connecticut Department of Public Health announced on Tuesday that two cases of measles have been confirmed in New Haven County. Officials say the two infected individuals are children under 12 months of age.

"The single best way to protect yourself and your children from measles is to be vaccinated," DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said in a statement. "While most people have had the measles vaccination, it's important to know your vaccination status and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of measles so you can get medical attention."

According to the World Health Organization, measles is transmitted through droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons. There is no treatment for the illness, but it can be prevented with a vaccine. Pregnant women may give birth early if they contract measles.

"Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases. The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, and severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia," the WHO says in a report.

Measles symptoms:

1. Cough

2. Coryza, or runny nose

3. Conjunctivitis, or swollen eyelids and inflamed eyes

4. Watery eyes

5. Photophobia, or sensitivity to light

6. Sneezing

7. A reddish-brown rash

8. Body ache

9. Sore throat