This once common childhood infection is caused by a virus and most often can be prevented with a vaccine.


Measles is a viral infection that spreads easily through the air and by touching infected surfaces. Measles can be serious for small children, and even fatal. Measles vaccination prevents the disease.


Symptoms appear 10 to 14 days after being exposed. They include a blotchy skin rash. The color of the rash varies from red on white skin color to brown or purple on brown or black skin color. The rash starts on the face and behind the ears then spreads down over the whole body. Other symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and sore throat.


Treatment aims at relieving symptoms. Fever reducers available without a prescription might help. If a child with measles has low levels of vitamin A, a healthcare professional may give vitamin A as a shot.