Measles: etiology, clinical characteristics, diagnostics, complications, treatment and prevention

Vaida Narvilienė1

1Vilnius university, Medicine faculty, Vilnius, Lithuania


Despite an available vaccine there is a significant increase in measles incidence. The increase is caused by an ongoing reduction of vaccination coverage where 95% of the population is not being covered.

Aim: to analyze the scientific literature about 1) etiology, 2) clinical characteristics 3) diagnostics, 4) complications and 5) treatment of measles.

Methods: literature review was done based on scientific articles from various databases: UpToDate, PubMed, Medscape, ScienceDirect and others.

Conclusions: 1.Measles is caused by RNR virus, who belongs to Paramyxoviridae family Morbililivirus genus. Virus is transmitted from person to person during close contact via respiratory droplets or aerosols.   2. Clinical diagnosis is based on presence on maculopapular rash, fever (≥38 °C), and either cough, coryza, or conjunctivitis. 3. Diagnosis is based on clinical characteristics, confirmed using serological testing. 4. The most common complications are otitis media and diarrhoea, less common –pneumonia, encephalitis. 4. Patients who were exposed to measles and were before unvaccinated or vaccinated with only one dose of MMR vaccinate should be vaccinated with one dose of MMR vaccine. Patients who are immunosuppressive should be given an immunoglobulin. The treatment of measles is symptomatic; vitamin A is recommended. For measles prevention children should be vaccinated at the age of 12-15 months and 4-6 years old.

Keywords: measles, rash, fever.