Last Reviewed : 12/28/2020

Measles is a highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus. Initial signs and symptoms typically include fever, often greater than 40 °C (104.0 °F), cough, runny nose, and inflamed eyes. Two or three days after the start of symptoms, small white spots may form inside the mouth, known as Koplik's spots. A red, flat rash which usually starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body typically begins three to five days after the start of symptoms. Symptoms usually develop 10–12 days after exposure to an infected person and last 7–10 days. Complications occur in about 30% and may include diarrhea, blindness, inflammation of the brain, and pneumonia among others. Rubella (German measles) and roseola are different diseases.

Measles is an airborne disease which spreads easily through the coughs and sneezes of those infected. It may also be spread through contact with saliva or nasal secretions. Nine out of ten people who are not immune and share living space with an infected person will catch it. People are infectious to others from four days before to four days after the start of the rash. People usually do not get the disease more than once. Testing for the virus in suspected cases is important for public health efforts.

The measles vaccine is effective at preventing the disease. Vaccination has resulted in a 75% decrease in deaths from measles between 2000 and 2013 with about 85% of children globally being currently vaccinated. No specific treatment is available. Supportive care may improve outcomes. This may include giving oral rehydration solution (slightly sweet and salty fluids), healthy food, and medications to control the fever. Antibiotics may be used if a secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia occurs. Vitamin A supplementation is also recommended in the developing world.

Measles affects about 20 million people a year, primarily in the developing areas of Africa and Asia. It causes the most vaccine-preventable deaths of any disease. It resulted in about 96,000 deaths in 2013, down from 545,000 deaths in 1990. In 1980, the disease is estimated to have caused 2.6 million deaths per year. Before immunization in the United States between three and four million cases occurred each year. Most of those who are infected and who die are less than five years old. The risk of death among those infected is usually 0.2%,but may be up to 10% in those who have malnutrition. It is not believed to affect other animals

We researched this topic for you and found the following best online resources. They are categorized into basic, advanced, and research level based on the extent of information you need. You will be taken to the respective websites by pressing on the links below.


Basic information: kids health org measles health line measles web md measles (rubeola) - topic overview mayo clinic definition nhs uk measles health service executive measles better health measles healthy children measles new york yimes measles university of maryland medical center measles encyclopedia britannica measles cleveland clinic measles measles


Advanced information: who measles fact sheet measles: causes, symptoms and treatments patient measles medline plus measles measles medscape measles dermnet nz measles emedicine health measles merck manuals(professional version) measles news measles lab tests online measles and mumps tests upto date measles kegg pathway measles virology online measles measles national organisation of rare diseases measles micro biology and immunology online measles virus


Research: measles morbidity and mortality trend in nigeria: a 10-year hospital-based retrospective study in lagos state, by nigeria akeeb o. bola oyefolu et al., j microbiol infect dis vol 6, no 1, march 2016 doi: 10.5799/ahinjs.02.2016.01.0207 immunization coverage in who regions: a review article by vakili et al. int j pediatr (supplement.1), vol.3, n.2-1, serial no.15, march 2015 : plemper rk, brindley ma, iorio rm (2011) structural and mechanistic studies of measles virus illuminate paramyxovirus entry. plos pathog 7(6): e1002058. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002058 deepa k. s. “clinical profile of measles in children admitted to a rural tertiary care hospital”. journal of evolution of medical and dental sciences 2015; vol. 4, issue 46, june 08; page: 7995-7999, doi:10.14260/jemds/2015/1162 diau j et al. measles outbreak investigation in a remote area of solomon islands, 2014.western pacific surveillance and response journal, 2015, 6(3). doi:10.5365/wpsar.2015.6.2.001 key parameters of measles virus production for oncolytic virotherapy by weiss, k. et al. / american journal of biochemistry and biotechnology 8 (2) (2012) 81-98 doi:10.3844/ajbbsp.2012.81.98 adams j, mcnaughton rj, wigham s, flynn d, ternent l, shucksmith j (2016) acceptability of parental financial incentives and quasi-mandatory interventions for preschool vaccinations: triangulation of findings from three linked studies. plos one 11(6): e0156843. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0156843 the clinical significance of measles: a review by walter a. orenstein j infect dis. (2004) 189(supplement 1): s4-s16.doi: 10.1086/377712 a population-based study of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and autism by kreesten meldgaard madsen, m.d. n engl j med 2002; 347:1477-1482november 7, 2002doi: 10.1056/nejmoa021134 the re-emergence of measles in developed countries: time to develop the next-generation measles vaccines? vaccine 30 (2012) 103–104 a review of data needed to parameterize a dynamic model of measles in developing countries by emily k szusz et al.,,bmc research notes20103:75 doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-3-75 a case-control study of autism and mumps-measles-rubella vaccination using the general practice research database: design and methodology by liam smeeth et al., bmc public healthbmc series ¿ open, inclusive and trusted20011:2 doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-1-2 measles outbreaks in displaced populations: a review of transmission, morbidity and mortality associated factors by isidore k kouadio et al.,bmc international health and human rightsbmc series – open, inclusive and trusted201010:5 doi: 10.1186/1472-698x-10-5 measles vaccination in humanitarian emergencies: a review of recent practice by rebecca f grais et al., conflict and health20115:21 doi: 10.1186/1752-1505-5-21


Other helpful resources(support groups): measles and rubella initiative american red cross


Related videos: measles explained — vaccinate or not? measles (rubeola) explained clearly measles, back in the days before the marketing of the vaccine how measles made a comeback


Presentations/quiz/newspaper articles: first measles death in us since 2003 highlights the unknown vulnerables national geographic measles science mag measles outbreak traced to fully vaccinated patient for first time the atlantic the new measles boing boing six cases of measles confirmed in tennessee outbreak. measles was eradicated in the u.s. in 2000 bbc news measles: first death in 12 years reported in washington state health impact news zero u.s. measles deaths in 10 years, but over 100 measles vaccine deaths reported huffington post a measles outbreak is growing in arizona indian express 15-billion-rupee question: german measles vaccine ready at hand, publicity cost holds back rollout daily mail woman who died of measles was vaccinated: first patient to die of disease in u.s. for 12 years succumbed to disease because of other health problems

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