Measles (Rubeola)

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Measles facts

  • Measles is a potentially serious disease.
  • Measles is due to a virus that is easily spread.
  • Measles can be complicated by ear infections, pneumonia, or encephalitis.
  • Measles infection of the brain (encephalitis) can cause convulsions, mental retardation, and even death.
  • There is currently an epidemic of measles in Europe.
  • Measles in pregnant women can cause miscarriages or premature delivery.
  • Measles can be prevented through vaccination.
  • Each person not immunized against measles is at risk for measles and puts others at risk.

What is measles?

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can be fatal. Although an uncommon disease in the United States of America, in 2008, measles killed 164,000 children worldwide. In most people, the disease produces fever (temperature > 101 F [38.3 C]), a generalized rash that last greater than three days, cough, runny nose (coryza), and red eyes (conjunctivitis). The complications of measles that result in most deaths include pneumonia and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

What is rubeola?

Rubeola is the scientific name used for measles. It should not be confused with rubella (German measles).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2012

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Measles Continues to Be Brought Into the U.S.

Measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated U.S. residents and foreign travelers who get infected when they are in other countries. They can infect others, which can lead to outbreaks.

In 2011, there were 222 cases of measles confirmed in the United States.

This is a reminder to make sure that your vaccinations are up-to-date, including when you are preparing to travel. And, if you plan to travel abroad with an infantor young child, be sure to talk with your child's doctor about what is recommended for measles vaccination of young travelers.

SOURCE: CDC

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