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Measles is a highly contagious childhood viral infection characterized by fever, coryza, cough, conjunctivitis, pathognomonic enanthem (Koplik's spots), and an exanthem. It can be complicated, acutely and chronically, by significant morbidity and mortality. Childhood immunization is highly effective at preventing infection.


Virus enters cells of respiratory tract, replicates locally, spreads to local lymph nodes, and disseminates hematogenously to skin and mucous membranes. Viral replication also occurs on skin and mucosa. Modified measles, a milder form of the illness, may occur in individuals with preexisting partial immunity induced by active or passive immunization.


While measles is probably best known for the full-body rash that it causes, the first symptoms of the infection are usually a hacking cough, runny nose, high fever, and watery red eyes. Another marker of measles are Koplik's spots, small red spots with blue-white centers that appear inside the mouth.

The measles rash typically has a red or reddish brown blotchy appearance, and first usually shows up on the forehead, then spreads downward over the face, neck, and body, then down to the feet.

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