Measles is a serious and very contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus.
Anyone born January 1, 1957, or later who has not had measles or has not been vaccinated is susceptible to measles.
It is spread when an infected person breathes, sneezes, coughs, or talks. You can catch measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been for up to two hours after that person left the room.
A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and sore throat. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik’s spots) may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after the start of symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears. The rash usually begins on a person’s face at the hairline and spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.
When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees F. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.
Symptoms may appear 7-21 days after exposure.
People can spread measles from 4 days before until 4 days after the rash begins.
Yes. After illness, a person probably has lifelong immunity to measles.
No, there is no specific treatment beyond bed rest, fluids, and control of fever. There may be additional treatment if complications develop.
Many people with measles have complications like diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, or acute encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, and can leave a child deaf or developmentally delayed). Complications are more common in children under 5 years of age and adults older than 20.
One of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one child will develop encephalitis, and one or two will die from measles complications.
Measles during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage or premature births.
Yes. Measles is usually combined with mumps and rubella in the MMR vaccine.
Protect your children by having them vaccinated.
Protect yourself by making sure you have immunity to measles.
If you think you might have been exposed to measles and need to seek healthcare, call ahead so appropriate measures can be taken to protect other patients and
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