Measles, also known as rubeola used to be a very common childhood infection until immunization against it got going. Even though it is known for its characteristic rash, it is actually a respiratory infection caused by the measles virus, a paramyxovirus.


  • Respiratory symptoms appear first -- cough, running nose, fever. This is when the patient is most infectious and should be quarantined.
  • Conjunctivitis may appear at this point
  • a day or two later, rashes appear on the skin and Koplik's spots (a diagnostic feature) appear on the oral mucosa. The rash is characteristic and is described as being reddish to brown, maculopapular (blotches with raised papules here and there which merge together) and is seen first on the head and face and then spreads downwards. On recovery, the rash disappears in the same order.

Other symptoms:


Diagnosis, treament, prevention
The diagnosis should be obvious clinically. Laboratory tests are usually unnecessary.

No antivirals are recommended and supportive therapy is all that is needed in most cases.

A live, attenuated vaccine is available which is effective. It is combined with vaccines for mumps and rubella in the MMR vaccine. Gamma globulin can be given for protection from infection in special circumstances (pregnant mothers, immunosuppressed individuals) where immunization is not possible.

Mea"sles (?), n. [From lst Measle.]

Leprosy; also, a leper.



© Webster 1913.

Mea"sles, n.; pl. in form, but used as singular in senses 1, 2, & 3. [D. mazelen; akin to G. masern, pl., and E. mazer, and orig. meaning, little spots. See Mazer.]

1. Med.

A contagious febrile disorder commencing with catarrhal symptoms, and marked by the appearance on the third day of an eruption of distinct red circular spots, which coalesce in a crescentic form, are slightly raised above the surface, and after the fourth day of the eruption gradually decline; rubeola.

Measles commences with the ordinary symptoms of fever. Am. Cyc.

2. Veter. Med.

A disease of cattle and swine in which the flesh is filled with the embryos of different varieties of the tapeworm.


A disease of trees.


4. pl. Zool.

The larvae of any tapeworm (Taenia) in the cysticerus stage, when contained in meat. Called also bladder worms.


© Webster 1913.

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