Infectious agent: Measles virus
Description of illness:
Measles is a vaccine-preventable, acute viral disease. Symptoms begin to appear about 8 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, with the rash starting about 14 days after exposure (range 7-21 days). Measles is characterized by a prodrome (lasting 2-4 days) of cough, coryza (runny nose), conjunctivitis and fever which gradually rises to 103°F or higher.
The measles rash is a maculopapular eruption that usually lasts 5–6 days. It begins at the hairline, to the face and upper neck and spreads down the back and trunk, and then extends to the arms and hands, as well as the legs and feet. The maculopapular lesions are generally discrete, but may become confluent, particularly on the upper body. Acute complications include otitis media, diarrhea, pneumonia, cardiac manifestations, encephalitis and occasionally death. Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a rare, fatal, late complication of natural measles infection, occurring about a decade or more after illness.