Pierce, Marcia M. Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky.
Last reviewed:September 2021
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- History and epidemiology
- Measles virus pathophysiology
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A viral illness characterized by fever, cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, and a skin rash. Measles, or rubeola, is an infectious disease caused by the measles morbillivirus (MeV), which is also called measles virus (MV) [Fig. 1]. Measles is highly contagious, spreading rapidly between unvaccinated individuals. The disease is transmitted through respiratory droplets that are produced during coughing or sneezing by an individual with measles. Specifically, the measles virus infects individuals through attachment to epithelial cells in the trachea or bronchi, after which the virus enters and replicates in the cytoplasm of the host cell. Measles often spreads rapidly through unvaccinated populations. The incubation period for the disease is 10 to 14 days, after which symptoms begin: a fever that typically lasts 4 days, a cough, conjunctivitis (pink eye), and a maculopapular rash. Measles also can lead to immune suppression for up to two years. See also: Immunosuppression; Infectious disease; Respiratory system; Skin disorders; Vaccination; Virus
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