General Paediatrics, Dermatology


Introduction to Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the measles virus.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What is Measles?

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the measles virus. Due to extensive vaccinations programmes in many countries it is most frequently found in developing countries in Asia and Africa however cases continue to present themselves around the world most often in children.

What are the causes for Measles?

Measles is caused by the measles virus and it presents with many of the symptoms caused by other viral infections. What allows a clinician to determine that the infection is caused specifically by the measles virus is the characteristic rash across the body and spots on the inside of the mouth.

What are the symptoms of Measles?

The symptoms of measles usually resolve themselves within 7-10 days. These can include nasal congestion, sneezing, cough, fatigue, sore throat and red eyes alongside inflamed eyelids. These symptoms are common to many viral infections.

A couple days before the rash appears people may have a series of light grey spots appear on the insides of their mouth which is indicative of measles virus.

The most prominent feature of measles is a rash that appears a few days into the infection. This usually first appears in the neck or head area and spreads as a series of red spots across the body. These form large red patches that can be extremely irritating and itchy.

There are a few complications that can occur in certain circumstances, such as if the individual is malnourished or has a weakened immune system. These can include diarrhoea, vomiting, laryngeal inflammation and even seizures.

How is Measles treated?

As measles infection usually resolves itself within 10 days it is often left untreated and patients may be provided with symptomatic relief if appropriate. This can include mild painkillers and irrigation fluid to help wash your eyes.

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