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Measles is a childhood infection caused by a  virus.  Once quite common, measles can now almost always be prevented with a vaccine.  Signs and symptoms of measles include cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes sore throat fever and a red blotchy skin rash.  Also called rubeola, measles can be serious and even fatal for small children.  While death rates       have been falling worldwide as more children received the measles  vaccine, the disease still kills more than 100,000 people a year,  most under the age of 5.  As a result of high vaccination rates, measles  has not been widespread in the United States for more that a decade. Today, the United States averages about 60 cases of measles a year, and most of them originate outside the country

Important links to view for more information.

Mayo Clinic


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If you have problems viewing the video go to Mayo Clinic link  listed then above the Measles photo, select Multimedia, select for the drop down list Vital Vaccinations


Measles signs and symptoms appear 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.  Signs and symptoms of measles typically include:

  • Fever
  • Dry Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Sore Throat
  • Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek -- also called Koplik's spots
  • 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 to three weeks.

  • Infection and incubation. For the first 10 to 14 days after you're infected, the measles virus incubates.  You have not signs or symptoms of measles during the time.
  • Nonspecific signs and symptoms.  Measles typically begins 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 or three days.
  • Acute illness and rash.  The rash consists of small red spots, some of which are slightly raised.  Spots and bumps in tight clusters give the skin a splotchy red appearance.  The face breaks out first, particularly behind the ears and along the hairline.

    Over the next few days, the rash spreads down the arms ad trunk, then over the thighs, lower legs and feet.  At the same time, fever rises sharply, often as high as 104 to 105.8 F (40 to 41 C) The measles rash gradually recedes, fading first from the face  and last from the thighs and feet.

  • Communicable period.  A person with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before  the rash appears and ending within the rash as been present for four days.

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if you think you or your child may have been exposed to measles or if you or your child has a rash resembling  measles.  Review your family's immunization records with your doctor, especially before starting elementary school, before     college and before international travel.