Measles: Primarily affects children, but individuals of any age who are not immune can contract the virus


Measles, also known as rubeola, is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the measles virus (MeV). It primarily affects children, but individuals of any age who are not immune can contract the virus.

Measles is preventable through vaccination, and widespread vaccination efforts have significantly reduced its prevalence in many parts of the world. However, outbreaks can still occur, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates.


  • Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads through respiratory droplets. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can linger in the air or on surfaces and infect others.


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  • The initial symptoms of measles typically include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. A characteristic rash usually appears a few days later, starting on the face and spreading down the body.


  • Measles can lead to severe complications, especially in vulnerable populations such as infants, pregnant women, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Complications may include pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and in severe cases, death.


  • The measles vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection. The vaccine is often given as part of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, typically administered in two doses.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a two-dose vaccination strategy to ensure high immunity levels in populations.

Global Impact

  • Measles remains a significant global health concern, particularly in areas with limited access to vaccination and healthcare resources.
  • Efforts to control and eliminate measles are part of broader immunization programs worldwide.


  • Measles outbreaks can occur when vaccination rates fall below the threshold required for herd immunity. Herd immunity helps protect those who cannot be vaccinated, such as infants and individuals with certain medical conditions.

Preventive Measures

  • Vaccination is the most effective preventive measure against measles. In addition to vaccination, practicing good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, can help reduce the risk of infection.

Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Measles is diagnosed based on symptoms, especially the characteristic rash. Laboratory tests may be conducted to confirm the diagnosis.
  • There is no specific antiviral treatment for measles. Supportive care, including rest, hydration, and management of complications, is essential.

Impact on Public Health

  • Measles has been a focus of global public health efforts to achieve its elimination. Several regions and countries have successfully eliminated endemic measles transmission through sustained vaccination campaigns.

Vaccine Safety

  • The measles vaccine is generally safe and well-tolerated. Serious side effects are rare. The benefits of vaccination in preventing measles and its complications far outweigh the risks.

Individuals and communities must prioritize vaccination to prevent the spread of measles and protect vulnerable populations. Public health efforts, including education, outreach, and vaccination campaigns, play a critical role in controlling and eliminating this infectious disease.

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