Measles – signs and symptoms

Measles is a contagious viral illness that causes a skin rash and fever. Serious and sometimes fatal complications include pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation). Measles is also known as rubeola, not to be confused with rubella (German measles). Worldwide, measles is the fifth highest cause of illness and death in children.Measles is rare in Australia because of the widespread use of the measles vaccine. It is important to continue immunising children in Australia, because there is a risk that the infection can be brought in by people arriving or returning from overseas.

Symptoms of measles

The signs and symptoms of measles may include:

  • fever
  • general discomfort, illness or lack of wellbeing (malaise)
  • runny nose
  • dry cough
  • sore and red eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • red and bluish spots inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)
  • red and blotchy skin rash that appears first on the face and hairline, and then spreads to the body.

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