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Measles: Introduction

Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus that affects the respiratory tract, including the throat, bronchial tubes and lungs. Measles is also known as rubeola and is highly preventable through vaccination. It can be very serious and result in life-threatening complications.

In history, measles caused devastating outbreaks, and nearly every child caught the measles. Outbreaks of measles declined dramatically with the invention of the measles, mumps, and rubellaa vaccine (MMR) to prevent these other contagious diseases. In the U.S. measles was nearly eliminated due to vaccination, although is it still widespread in developing areas of the world where vaccination is not common, such as Africa and Asia. In the last several years, measles is again on the rise in the U.S., due in part to a decrease in vaccination rates.

The measles virus spreads from person to person when someone with the measles talks, coughs or sneezes. This shoots droplets contaminated with the measles virus into the air where they can be breathed in by others. The measles is extremely contagious, and nearly everyone who is exposed to the measles virus will get the disease unless they are immune to it. Immunity to measles occurs after adequate vaccination or after contracting and surviving the disease.

Symptoms of the measles affect the respiratory system and also include fever and a rash. Complications of the measles can be serious, even life-threatening, and include pneumonia, acute bronchitis, encephalitis, miscarriage and death. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of measles.

People at risk for getting the measles and developing its serious complications include anyone who has not been vaccinated for the disease and is exposed to a person with the disease. Risk factors also include not being vaccinated and travelling to areas of the world where measles is common or having a vitamin A deficiency. Having a vitamin A deficiency also makes it more likely that a person who gets the measles will have more severe symptoms.

Making a diagnosis of measles involves taking a thorough health history, including symptoms and vaccination and travel history, and performing a physical exam. This includes evaluating the rash that accompanies the measles. Some medical testing may be done to rule or confirm other diseases, such as pneumonia or influenza.

It is possible that a diagnosis of measles can be delayed or overlooked because the disease is not common in the U.S., and because the symptoms of measles can resemble symptoms or other diseases. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis ofmeasles.

Treatment of the measles includes measures to help relieve symptoms and keep the body as strong as possible to minimize the risk of developing complications. This includes rest, medications to ease pain and fever and drinking plenty of fluids.

Antibiotics are ineffective against the measles. However, they may be prescribed for some children or adults who have developed secondary complication of the measles cause by a bacterial infection. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of measles. ...more »

Measles: Measles, mumps, and rubella were once very common diseases in the United States, but they have become rare because of the use of vaccines to prevent ... more about Measles.

Measles: Once common viral infection now rare due to vaccination. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Measles is available below.

Measles: Symptoms

Early symptoms of the measles may be mild and include a runny nose, irritability, and red, runny eyes. Symptoms also include a hacking cough, swollen glands (lymphedema), fever, diarrhea, and white spots of the mouth called Koplik's spots.

The skin rash typical of measles develops after about four or five days of illness. This rash is made ...more symptoms »

Measles: Treatments

Treatment of the measles starts with prevention. The best protection from getting or spreading the measles is getting vaccinated as recommended with the measles, mumps, and rubellaa vaccine (MMR). It is also important to ensure that measles vaccination is up to date when travelling to areas of the world where measles is still common, such as parts of Africa and Asia.

Preventing the ...more treatments »

Measles: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the measles is generally made from information obtained by taking a thorough health history, including symptoms and vaccination and travel history, and performing a physical exam. Misdiagnosing the measles is possible because the symptoms, especially early symptoms, of the measles can be vague and similar to symptoms of other ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Measles

Treatments for Measles

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Measles:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Measles?

Measles: Related Patient Stories

Measles: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Measles.

Alternative Treatments for Measles

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Measles may include:

  • Oral rehydration
  • Morbillinum homeopathic prevention
  • Aconite homeopathic remedy
  • Belladonna homeopathic remedy
  • Ferrum phosphoricum homeopathic remedy
  • more treatments »

Measles: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Measles:

Causes of Measles

Read more about causes of Measles.

More information about causes of Measles:

Disease Topics Related To Measles

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Measles:

Measles: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Measles

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms. Although the most common symptoms are more »

Sinusitis is overdiagnosed: There is a tendency to give a diagnosis of sinusitis, when the condition is really a harmless complication of another infection, such as a common more »

Whooping cough often undiagnosed: Although most children in the Western world have been immunized against whooping cough (also called "pertussis"), this protection wears more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to more »

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The main problem is that psoriasis is rare more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can also occur in children. See more »

Measles: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Measles

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Measles:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Measles, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Latest Treatments for Measles

Measles: Animations

Prognosis for Measles

Research about Measles

Visit our research pages for current research about Measles treatments.

Clinical Trials for Measles

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Measles include:

Prevention of Measles

Prevention information for Measles has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Measles.

Statistics for Measles

Measles: Broader Related Topics

Measles Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Measles, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Measles

Measles, mumps, and rubella were once very common diseases in the United States, but they have become rare because of the use of vaccines to prevent them. As with many other diseases, measles, mumps, and rubella generally are more severe in adults than in children. Most adults are immune to all three infections because they had them (or a vaccine) as children. (Source: excerpt from Shots for Safety -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

Definitions of Measles:

Childhood viral disease manifested as acute febrile illness associated with cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, spots on the buccal mucosa, and rash starting on the head and neck and spreading to the rest of the body. - (Source - Diseases Database)

An acute and highly contagious viral disease marked by distinct red spots followed by a rash; occurs primarily in children - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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