Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Measles is a serious, highly contagious disease caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family. Despite there being a measles vaccination, measles continues to remain one of the leading causes of death among young children globally. More than 95% of the cases of measles occur in developing or low-income countries that have poor health infrastructures, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. The virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. Measles is transmitted through coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, or direct contact with infected persons. Symptoms include a high fever beginning about 10 to 12 days after initial exposure, runny nose, cough, watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks. A rash breaks out several days later, typically on the face and upper neck, then spreads to the hands and feet. Serious complications of measles include blindness, inflammation of the brain, severe diarrhea, dehydration, ear infections, severe respiratory infections, and death.

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