Measles: Overview

Measles is an infectious virus that has become uncommon due to vaccination. Its early symptoms are similar to many other respiratory viruses, such as cough, sneezing, runny nose, fever, but may also have conjunctivitis (eye inflammation). Early stages may be misdiagnosed as some other respiratory illness. However, the measles mouth rash usually appears after about 2 to 4 days inside the mouth, called “Koplik’s Spots”, and also causing oral symptoms such as hoarse voice and sore throat. The characteristic measles skin rash then appears, usually starting on the neck and spreading to the face, body, arms, and legs. Extremely high fever is common, along with hacking cough and inflamed eyes. Measles can cause many different severe complications: pneumonia, middle ear infection (otitis media), encephalitis, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). High fevers can also cause the usual complications such as febrile convulsions, hallucinations, etc. Treatment is mainly symptomatic, aimed at reducing fevers and the discomfort of symptoms, but any of the complications may require additional treatments.

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