Measles(rubeola) is caused by a virus.It is highly contagious and is mostly a childhood disease.
Measles is transmitted via the airborne route by droplets when a patient sneezes or coughs or by direct contact with nasal or throat discharge of a patient.When introduced to a population who has never got the disease, everyone in it will get measles.Humans are its only host.
Following an incubation period of 9-12 days, fever,cough,runny nose and redness of the eyes.Red-pink spots known as Kolplik spots appear inside the mouth and a rash appears on the skin after 3 days.The rash spreads all over the body.Complications like secondary bacterial infection, encephalitis or pneumonia may follow in some patients.
No drug is available to treat measles.Supportive treatment to relieve symptoms and antibiotics for secondary bacteria infection may be used.The patient will recover when the body develops immunity to the virus.
A combined vaccine(MMR) is available.The vaccine uses weakened viruses to induce immunty.This is given early in life and booster shots may be neccessary.