Encyclopedia of Public Health

2008 Edition
| Editors: Wilhelm Kirch


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-5614-7_3076


Rubella; Measles


Measles or rubeola is a highly contagious disease of young children, caused by a virus and spread by droplet spray from the nose, mouth, and throat of individuals in the infective stage. This period begins 2 to 4 days before the appearance of the rash and lasts from 2 to 5 days thereafter. The first symptoms of measles, after an incubation period of 7 to 14 days, are fever, nasal discharge, and redness of the eyes. Characteristic white spots appear in the mouth, followed by a rash on the face that spreads to the rest of the body. The symptoms disappear in 4 to 7 days. One attack of measles confers lifelong immunity. Complications are possible such as bronchial pneumonia and encephalitis. Common measles in pregnant women can be a threat to the unborn child, and  vaccination of women well before pregnancy is recommended. Immunization by injection of live measles-virus vaccine.

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© Springer-Verlag 2008