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Measles
Infection
The patients excrete measles virus from the airways and the infection is transmitted from person to person through the air.

Vaccination
Vaccination against measles is included in the childhood vaccinations programme of all countries.
The vaccinations consist of two injections of the combined Mumps-Measles-Rubella, MMR, vaccine. There is lifelong protection after the to vaccinations.
For children who have not been vaccinated but want to be protected later in life, for instance before travelling, two vaccinations with 1 to 3 months apart provide life-long protection.

Symptoms
High fever often towards 40C, rash, eye infection (conjunctivitis) and cough. Febrile seizures are common in children below 2 to 3 years of age. The fever usually last for about a week.About 1% of the children get a secondary bacterial middle ear infection or lung inflammation. About 1 per 1000 gets an encephalitis (brain infection) of which 15% die and the remainder often get complications like deafness, epilepsy and mental retardation.

Diagnosis
The diagnose is quite obvious in the phase with the rash. Antibodies can be found in a blood sample, and the virus or virus DNA detected in sputum.

Treatment
Supportive only. No specific antiviral drugs available.

Prevention
MMR vaccination.

Further information: W.H.O. Measles

Edited 11 December 2008