Know about Measles: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention

Know about Measles: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention


Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by virus of Paramyxo virus family. The measles virus infects the respiratory tract first. However, it eventually spreads to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.


Measles virus lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread through:-

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Touching the infected surface

Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90% of the people close to that person who is not immune will also become infected.


Even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available, in 2018; there were more than 140,000 measles deaths globally, mostly among children under the age of five.


Measles signs and symptoms appear around 10 to 14 days after exposure to virus:-

  • white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining  of cheek – called Koplik’s  spots
  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another.


The infection occurs in sequential stages over a period of two or three weeks.

  • Infection and incubation– For the first 10-14 days after infection, the measles virus incubates. There are no signs or symptoms during this time.
  • Non -specific signs and symptoms – Measles typically begin with a mild to moderate fever, often accompanied by a persistent cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis) and sore throat. This relatively mild illness may last two and three days.
  •  Acute illness and rash– The rash consists of small red spots, some of which are slighted raised. Spots and bumps in tight clusters give the skin a splotchy red appearance, first which appears over face first. Over the next few days, the rash spreads down the arms and trunk then over the thigh, lower legs, and feet. At the same time, fever rises sharply often to 104-105 oF. The measles rash gradually recedes, fading first from face and last from the thighs and feet.
  • Communicable Period– It starts four days before the rash appears and ends when the rash has been present for four days.


Doctor can confirm by examining skin rash, symptoms and Koplik’s spots. A blood test for measles virus is also available.


Children under 5 years of age are more likely to have complications due to measles, which includes:


Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent measles. Two doses of measles vaccines are 97% effective at preventing measles infection. There are two vaccines available- the MMR vaccine and the MMRV vaccine. The MMR Vaccine is a three in one vaccination that protects from measles, mumps, and rubella and also include protection against chickenpox.

If you need any further information, you can comment below or call Motherhood Chaitanya Hospital at 0172-5088088, 01762-509503.

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