Also known as: rubeola.

What is measles?

Measles is a viral infection characterized by a fever, cough and a full-body rash. The pre-rash part of the illness can resemble most upper viral infections. The disease has become increasingly rare in the United States and worldwide thanks to widespread measles vaccinations but in the last 2 years there have been more cases described in the US than the previous years in children whose families have refused vaccination.

What causes measles?

Measles is caused by a virus. The disease is highly contagious, so it’s quite easy to spread it from one person to another in a population that has not been vaccinated for protection against the disease.

What are the symptoms of measles?

The first symptoms that typically appear with measles resemble the flu, including a fever, runny nose, cough and a reddish tint to the eyes. The rash typically appears after a few days and is accompanied by a high fever. Both the rash and fever tend to go away on their own after a few days.

Measles can be complicated by pneumonia, encephalitis and even death.

What are measles care options?

The best way to prevent measles is to make sure children are vaccinated to protect them from the illness at an early age. If a child gets the measles, the disease has to run its course. The child should get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and be kept away from others to prevent the spread of the disease.

Reviewed by: P. Marcelo Laufer, MD

This page was last updated on: December 08, 2021 04:25 PM

Infectious Diseases

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