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Measles: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention

Hayley Gans, MD
Yvonne A Maldonado, MD
Section Editors
Martin S Hirsch, MD
Sheldon L Kaplan, MD
Deputy Editor
Elinor L Baron, MD, DTMH


Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that occurs worldwide. The infection is characterized by fever, malaise, cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis, followed by exanthem. Following exposure, approximately 90 percent of susceptible individuals will develop measles. The period of contagiousness is estimated to be from five days before the appearance of the rash to four days afterward. The illness may be transmitted in public spaces, even in the absence of person-to-person contact.

Measles virus infection can cause a variety of clinical syndromes, including [1,2]:

Classic measles infection in immunocompetent patients

Modified measles infection in patients with preexisting but incompletely protective anti-measles antibody

Atypical measles infection in patients immunized with the killed virus vaccine

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 05, 2017.
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