Home > Health A – Z > Measles

Measles (Rubeola)

A highly contagious viral infection caused by the measles virus. Symptoms appear 8-12 days after exposure and include a rash, cough, fever and muscle pains that can last 4-7 days.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Measles

The symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected.

Measles typically begins with

Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth.

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person's fever may spike to more than 104° Fahrenheit.

After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades. CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Chinese medicinal herbs for measles

Measles (rubeola) is an infectious disease caused by multiplication of a single‐strand ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus of the genus Morbillivirus in the upper respiratory tract and conjunctiva. It can lead to serious complications and death. Chinese herbal medicines are believed to be effective in alleviating symptoms and shortening the duration of measles, and are widely used as the main or adjunctive therapy to treat measles in China and other countries.

Vitamin A for measles in children

Measles is caused by a virus and possible complications include pneumonia. Measles is a major cause of death in children in low‐income countries and is particularly dangerous in children with vitamin A deficiency. Eight studies involving 2574 participants were included in this review and we found that there was no significant reduction in mortality in children receiving vitamin A. However, vitamin A megadoses (200,000 international units (IUs) on each day for two days) lowered the number of deaths from measles in hospitalized children under the age of two years. Two doses of vitamin A are not considered to be too expensive, and are not likely to produce adverse effects.

Antibiotics for preventing complications in children with measles

Measles is an infectious disease caused by a virus. There is an effective vaccine which can prevent measles, nevertheless 30 to 40 million people worldwide still develop measles annually. Each year measles causes more than half a million deaths and is responsible for an estimated 44% of the 1.7 million vaccine‐preventable deaths among children. Measles is associated with complications such as pneumonia, ear infections, throat infections, diarrhea and conjunctivitis.

See all (44)

Summaries for consumers

Chinese medicinal herbs for measles

Measles (rubeola) is an infectious disease caused by multiplication of a single‐strand ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus of the genus Morbillivirus in the upper respiratory tract and conjunctiva. It can lead to serious complications and death. Chinese herbal medicines are believed to be effective in alleviating symptoms and shortening the duration of measles, and are widely used as the main or adjunctive therapy to treat measles in China and other countries.

Vitamin A for measles in children

Measles is caused by a virus and possible complications include pneumonia. Measles is a major cause of death in children in low‐income countries and is particularly dangerous in children with vitamin A deficiency. Eight studies involving 2574 participants were included in this review and we found that there was no significant reduction in mortality in children receiving vitamin A. However, vitamin A megadoses (200,000 international units (IUs) on each day for two days) lowered the number of deaths from measles in hospitalized children under the age of two years. Two doses of vitamin A are not considered to be too expensive, and are not likely to produce adverse effects.

Antibiotics for preventing complications in children with measles

Measles is an infectious disease caused by a virus. There is an effective vaccine which can prevent measles, nevertheless 30 to 40 million people worldwide still develop measles annually. Each year measles causes more than half a million deaths and is responsible for an estimated 44% of the 1.7 million vaccine‐preventable deaths among children. Measles is associated with complications such as pneumonia, ear infections, throat infections, diarrhea and conjunctivitis.

See all (16)

More about Measles

Photo of a child

Also called: Morbilli, Red measles

See Also: Conjunctivitis

Other terms to know:
Viral Infections

Related articles:
Measles Vaccine
Fever in Children

Keep up with systematic reviews on Measles:

RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...