Measles (Rubeola): Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Measles, also known as rubeola, is a respiratory disease characterized by a rash all over the body in addition to fever, runny nose, and cough. It is typically a childhood illness that can be complicated by ear infection or pneumonia; associated symptoms for these conditions can include ear pain or fullness, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Other symptoms common in measles include

Koplik's spots look like white grains surrounded by a red rim and usually appear at the back of the mouth. Symptoms and signs of measles usually appear one to two weeks after contracting the infection.

Causes of measles

Measles is caused by the measles virus (a paramyxovirus). It is spread from person to person by droplets from the nose, throat, and mouth of someone who is infected with the virus that enter the air when coughing or sneezing.


United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Measles (Rubeola)." June 17, 2016. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/8/2017

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