Measles is an infectious disease that is caused by a virus and primarily infects children. The symptoms of measles include high fever, headache, hacking cough, conjunctivitis and a rash which usually begins inside the mouth as white spots, (called Koplik's spots) and progresses to a red rash that spreads toface, neck, trunk and extremities. The incubation period varies but is usually 10-12 days until symptoms appear. Measles are sometimes called rubeola orthe nine-day measles. Normally recovery is full. However, complications can arise if a secondary bacterial infection occurs, such as pneumonia or ear infection.

Measles was described as long ago as the ninth century when a Persian physician, Rhazes, first differentiated between measles and smallpox. He also made the observation that fever is a defense the body has against a disease, not adisease itself. His writings on the subject were translated into English andpublished in 1847.

The measles virus was first discovered in the 1930s; John F. Enders of Children's Hospital in Boston eventually isolated the measles virus in 1954 and began looking for an attenuated strain to be suitable for a live-virus vaccine.A successful immunization program for measles was begun soon after. Today measles is controlled in the United States with a vaccination that confers immunity against measles, mumps and rubella and is commonly called the MMR vaccine. Since a series of measles epidemics occurred in the teenage population, a second MMR shot is now required of many school-age children as it was found that only one vaccination appeared not to confer lifelong immunity.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

The Content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of Content found on the Website.