Measles is an acute and highly infectious disease of childhood, transmitted by droplets from nose, mouth or throat. It is caused by viruses.   Measles is characterised by fever and upper respiratory tract symptoms like cough and cold (coryza). The rash of measles is typical. This occurs all over the world and lead to significant morbidity and mortality in children.


The classical signs and symptoms of measles include fever for  4 to 6 days and the three C's i.e:fever for  4 to 6 days and the three C's i.e:

  • Cough
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Coryza (common cold) 
  • Cold-like symptoms, such as runny nose, watery eyes, swollen eyelids and sneezing
  • Red eyes and sensitivity to light
  • A mild to severe temperature, which may peak at over 40.6C (105F) for several days, then fall but go up again when the rash appears
  • Tiredness, irritability and general lack of energy
  • Aches and pains
  • Poor appetite
  • Tiny grayish-white spots (called Koplik's spots) in the mouth and throat


 It is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus which is a single-stranded, negative-sense, enveloped RNA virus of the genus Morbillivirus within the family Paramyxoviridae. Humans are the natural hosts of the virus.

Diagnosis of measles requires a history of fever of at least three days, with at least one of the three C's (cough, coryza, conjunctivitis).

  • Observation of Koplik's spots is also diagnostic of measles


There is no specific treatment for measles. Most patients with uncomplicated measles will recover with rest and supportive treatment.

The following may relieve symptoms:
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Bed rest
  • Humidified air

It is, however, important to seek medical advice if the patient becomes more unwell, as they may be developing complications.


Measles can be prevented through a vaccine called MMR(Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. Routine immunization is highly effective in prevention of measles.

The immunization for measles includes 2 doses wherein the first dose should be given between 12-15 months of age followed by the second dose after an interval of 4 weeks, usually up to 4-6 years.

However, in India the National Immunization schedule says, "The first dose should be given between 9-12months of age followed by the second dose between 16-24 months of age along with DPT (Diptheria,Pertusis and Tetanus) booster dose, up to the age of 5years.


  • LAST UPDATED ON : Oct 29, 2015


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