by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Measles is an infection that spreads quickly. It causes a fever and rash. It was once common in children. It is now less common in the United States due to the use of the measles vaccine.
Measles is caused by a virus. It is spread by:
Measles can be spread:
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Measles symptoms start 10 to 12 days after exposure. They are:
Symptoms improve 7 to 10 days from the start of the rash.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is enough to make the diagnosis.
Measles is caused by a virus. It cannot be treated with antibiotics.
The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms until the virus passes. Choices are:
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent measles. It comes as a single vaccine or with:
Some people may be given a vaccine within 3 days of exposure. This can prevent or lessen symptoms.
Immune globulin may also be given to some unvaccinated people within 6 days of exposure. This is usually for infants and pregnant women.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
Public Health Agency of Canada
Measles. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/measles. Accessed October 30, 2020.
Measles. World Health Organization website. Available at: https://www.who.int/health-topics/measles#tab=tab_1. Accessed October 30, 2020.
Measles (rubeola). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed October 30, 2020.
Moss WJ. Measles. Lancet. 2017 Dec 2;390(10111):2490-2502.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated: 10/30/2020
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.