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measles


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n. a highly infectious virus disease that tends to appear in epidemics every 2–3 years and mainly affects children. After an incubation period of 8–15 days, symptoms resembling those of a cold develop accompanied by a high fever. Small red spots with white centres (Koplik’s spots) may appear on the inside of the cheeks. On the third to fifth day a blotchy slightly elevated pink rash develops, first behind the ears then on the face and elsewhere; it lasts 3–5 days. The patient is infectious throughout this period. In most cases the symptoms soon subside but patients are susceptible to pneumonia and middle ear infections. Complete recovery may take 2–4 weeks. Severe complications include encephalitis (one in 1000 cases) and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. Measles is a common cause of childhood mortality in malnourished children, particularly in the developing world. Vaccination against measles provides effective immunity (see MMR vaccine). Medical names: rubeola, morbilli.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.


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