Measles is a childhood infection caused by a virus that can now almost always be prevented with a vaccine. This infection is also called rubeola. Measles can be serious and even fatal for small children. For more than a decade, the infection hasn’t been widespread in the U.S. as they have a high vaccination rate in general.
Most of the measles cases originated outside the country and occurred in people who were unvaccinated or who didn’t know whether or not they had been vaccinated.
Measles is caused by an extremely contagious virus called morbillivirus. If 10 people weren’t vaccinated in a room with someone with measles, 9 of them would get measles. This infection is spread by:
The signs and symptoms of measles appear around 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. The signs and symptoms usually may include:
Your doctor can usually diagnose measles depending on the characteristics of the disease. However, many doctors have never seen measles, and the rash can be confused with several other illnesses. If needed, a blood test can confirm whether the rash is truly measles. The measles virus can also be established with a test that usually uses a throat swab or urine sample.
There’s no exact treatment for established measles infection. However, some measures can be taken to protect vulnerable individuals who have been exposed to the virus.
Medications used for measles:
You should not give aspirin to children or teenagers who have measles symptoms. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 3, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms must never take aspirin. Aspirin has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.