Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause fever, cough, rash, and other symptoms.


What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can cause fever, cough, rash, and other symptoms. The disease is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.


Who's at risk for measles?

Measles can affect anyone who has not been vaccinated against the disease, particularly children under the age of 5. Travelers to areas with high rates of measles are also at increased risk of contracting the disease.


What causes measles?

Measles is caused by a virus called the measles virus.


How does measles start?

Measles begins with flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. After several days, a red, blotchy rash usually appears on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body.


What are the symptoms of measles?

Symptoms of measles may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Red, blotchy rash


In severe cases, measles can cause:

  • Pneumonia
  • Encephalitis
  • Dehydration
  • Death


How is measles diagnosed?

A healthcare provider may diagnose measles based on symptoms and a physical exam.


How can measles be treated?

  • Treatment for measles may include:
  • Rest and fluids: These can help manage symptoms and prevent dehydration.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, may help reduce fever and relieve pain.
  • Vitamin A supplements: These may be recommended to help prevent complications, 
  • particularly in children.


What complications may occur with measles?

Complications of measles may include:

  • Pneumonia
  • Encephalitis
  • Dehydration
  • Death


How can I prevent measles?

Preventative measures for measles may include:

  • Vaccination: The measles vaccine is highly effective at preventing the disease and is recommended for all children and adults who have not been vaccinated.
  • Avoiding contact with infected individuals: Measles is highly contagious, and individuals should avoid contact with anyone who has the disease.
  • Practicing good hygiene: Washing hands frequently and avoiding sharing utensils or drinks can help prevent the spread of measles.


Long-term management of measles

Long-term management of measles may involve:

Monitoring for complications, particularly in individuals with weakened immune systems.

Encouraging vaccination for all individuals who have not been vaccinated.


What is recent research saying about measles?

Recent research on measles includes:

  • Researchers are exploring new ways to improve vaccine coverage, particularly in areas with low vaccination rates.
  • A recent study found that a third dose of the measles vaccine may be effective at preventing measles outbreaks in individuals who have previously been vaccinated.
  • Researchers are also exploring the use of antiviral medications to treat measles, particularly in individuals who are unable to receive the vaccine.


Where can I go for more information on measles?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are both helpful resources for information on measles. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider for guidance and support in managing measles.