Chris Schach

Author Bio -


Key Points
*Highly infectious condition which most visibly affects the skin
*Caused by viral infection
*Consists of blotchy red rash accompanied by fever, cough, and white spots on the interior of the mouth

Measles is a highly infectious condition which most recognizably affects the skin. It initially consists of cold-like symptoms including conjunctivitis, fever, cough, nasal congestion and white spots (called Koplik spots) on the interior of the mouth. Approximately a week after these symptoms appear, the characteristic spotted, blotchy, red rash begins to appear on the face, and then spreads to other areas of the body. The rash may coalesce, and its formation is accompanied by a very high fever. Within 3-4 days, the rash will begin to fade to a purplish color, then brownish covered with fine scaling. Fever and cough may continue after rash has faded, though the presence of fever during the recovery stage may indicate the presence of complications related to the condition, which may include diarrhea, otitis media, and pneumonia.

Measles is caused by a viral infection which is spread through moderately close contact with infected persons. Those who have had the condition previously are often immune. Infants prior to their first vaccination, travelers who have not been vaccinated and are visiting areas where the condition is common, and persons with a weakened immune system are at greater risk of developing the infection. Those who have an increased risk for severe cases and complications include those with vitamin a or immune deficiencies, and pregnant women.

Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)
Parvovirus B19 Infection
Drug eruptions
Roseola Infantum
Enteroviral Infections
Scarlet Fever
Infectious mononucleosis
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Kawasaki disease
Toxic shock syndrome

Key Points
*Diagnosis based on appearance of the affected area in conjunction with symptomology
*Laboratory testing will be performed to confirm diagnosis and rule out other conditions

Measles is generally diagnosed based on the presentation of symptoms in conjunction with the characteristic appearance of the affected area. Laboratory testing will be performed to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other, similar appearing conditions.

*No specific treatment exists
*Goal of treatment is control of symptoms
*Severe cases may require hospitalization

While vaccination protects most people from contracting the condition, there is no specific treatment which is exists to combat Measles once a person is infected. Treatment often consists of controlling and managing symptoms as necessary, including administration of fever reducers, preventing dehydration, and observation to treat and prevent complications in severe cases. Severe cases typically require the affected person to be hospitalized. In persons who experience complications accompanied by secondary bacterial infections, antibiotic medications will be prescribed.