Measles is a viral respiratory disease that can have life-threatening complications.[١] Measles mostly affects children, as the virus that causes measles is transmitted through the nose, mouth, or throat of infected people, and symptoms begin to appear from the face and upper neck, and gradually spread downward, and there is no specific treatment for it, and most infected people recover within a period of 2- 3 weeks, however, measles may lead to many serious complications, especially in malnourished children and people with low immunity.[٢] Measles is a dangerous and fatal disease, and despite the low death rates around the world due to the use of measles vaccinations, annually about 100,000 people in the world die from measles, most of them children under 5 years old.[٣]

Stages of measles infection

Measles appears in successive stages over a period of two to three weeks. The following are the stages:[٤]

  • Infection and incubation stage: The infection and incubation stage of the measles virus lasts 10-14 days after exposure to the virus, during which time no symptoms of measles infection will appear.
  • Non-specific symptom stage: Symptoms of measles begin with a mild rise in temperature, and the rise in temperature may be accompanied by a number of other symptoms that last for two or three days, such as; Persistent cough, sore throat, runny nose, and conjunctivitis.
  • The stage of the disease and severe rash: the rash consists of small red spots, and the spots and bumps in compact groups may lead to the appearance of the skin in a red spotted color, and the rash spreads on the face, behind the ears, and along the hairline during the first days, then spreads to the arms The torso, then to the thighs, the lower area of ​​the legs, and the feet, and the temperature begins to rise sharply, as it may often reach 40-41 degrees Celsius, and the rash resulting from measles begins to gradually recede from the face first, then from thighs, and feet.
  • The contagious period: the period of spread of the measles virus begins during the four days before the appearance of the rash, and during the four days during the appearance of the rash.

The effects of measles

Symptoms of measles

A high temperature is usually the first symptom of measles, as the temperature begins to rise about 10-12 days after the measles virus enters the body, and lasts from 4-7 days, and symptoms can develop into the appearance of white spots inside the cheeks, and redness Eyes, watery appearance, runny nose, cough, then after several days the rash begins to appear on the face and upper neck, and then the rash spreads within three days, eventually reaching the hands and feet.[٤]

Complications of measles

There are many serious complications for people with measles of all age groups, but children under the age of 5 and adults over the age of 20 are more likely to develop complications from measles, and complications include the following:[٥]

  • Common complications:
  • severe complications:
  • Long-term complications: Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis is a future complication of measles, an extremely rare, but fatal disease of the central nervous system. Acute sclerosing encephalitis is caused by an early acquired measles virus infection. Subacute sclerosing encephalitis develops 7-10 years after a person has contracted measles, although the person has made a full recovery from measles.
  • Ear infection. Ear infections occur in about 1 in 10 people who have measles. Ear infections in people with measles may lead to permanent hearing loss.
  • Diarrhea. At least 1 in 10 people with measles will develop diarrhoea.
  • Pneumonia. Pneumonia is the most common cause of death in children with measles. One in 20 children with measles develops pneumonia.
  • Encephalitis. One out of every 1,000 children infected with measles may develop encephalitis. Encephalitis causes the child to have convulsions and intellectual disability.
  • Premature labour. If a woman is exposed to measles during pregnancy, it may lead to premature birth.
  • Death. Measles may kill one or two of every 1,000 children infected with measles.

Measles and pregnancy

Measles can be transmitted from the mother to the child if the birth date is close, and this is called congenital measles. See a doctor immediately in case of measles infection during pregnancy; To receive immune injections that help prevent infection, pregnant women with measles are more likely to develop complications of measles, such as: pneumonia, and many other complications, including the following:[٦]

  • Abortion.
  • Premature birth.
  • Low birth weight of the fetus.
  • Fetal death.

measles vaccine for prevention

Measles is one of the most common infectious diseases that exist, as if one person has measles, 9 out of 10 people close to him also get it, and the outbreak of measles has increased in recent years in the United States, and around the world in places such as: Europe, Africa and South America, where outbreaks usually occur in areas where people are not vaccinated against measles, so getting a measles vaccine is the best way to prevent it,[٧]The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine is routinely administered in the United States of America in two doses, the first dose being at the age of 12 to 15 months, and the second dose before joining the school stage at the age of 4 to 6 years, and the World Health Organization estimates that The measles vaccination program reduced the number of measles deaths by 79 percent globally from 2000 to 2015, preventing about 20.3 million deaths.[٨]

the reviewer

  1. ↑ “Measles FAQ: Symptoms, Prevention, and More”,, Retrieved 5-16-2019. Edited.
  2. ↑ “Measles”,, Retrieved 5-16-2019. Edited.
  3. ↑ “measles”,, Retrieved 5-16-2019. Edited.
  4. ^ ab “measles”,, Retrieved 5-16-2019. Edited.
  5. ↑ “(measles(rubeola”),, Retrieved 5-16-2019. Edited.
  6. ↑ “Measles during pregnancy”,, Retrieved 5-16-2019. Edited.
  7. ↑ “Measles”,, Retrieved 5-17-2019. Edited.
  8. ↑ “Understanding the causes of measles”,, Retrieved 3-6-2019.


writing – on the date : – Last updated: 2022-06-23 18:30:01