Epidemiological, Clinical Features, Diagnosis and Treatment of Measles

Measles Disease: Sign, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Definition of Measles Disease:

An acute highly infectious disease of childhood caused by a specific virus of the group myxoviruses which is clinically characterized by fever and catarrhal symptoms of the upper respiratory tract (coryza, cough) followed by a typical rash.

Measles disease symptoms
Fig: Measles disease symptoms

Measles is a highly infectious disease of childhood caused by measles virus. It is characterized by fever, catarrhal symptoms of the upper respiratory tract followed by typical rash.

Epidemiological Features of Measles Disease:

1. Occurrence: The disease is endemic in all parts of the world.

2. Ecological triad:

Agent: RNA paramyxovirus


  • Age: It is mainly a disease of child hood between 6 months – 3 years.
  • Sex: Both sexes are affected
  • Nutrition: Very severe in malnourished children
  • Immunity: one attack of measles gives immunity for life.

3. Environment:

Incidence is in higher in spring and winter Incidence is higher in densely populated urban areas.

4. Natural history:

  1. Source of infection: A case of measles.
  2. Infective material: Nasopharyngeal secretion. Lacrimal secretion, urine of infected person.
  3. Infectious period: Maximum infectious period is 7 days.
  4. Mode of transmission:
  • Direct contact (90%),
  • Droplet spread,
  • Fomite,
  • Rarely air borne,
  • Incubation period: 1-2 weeks, usually 11 days (average).

Clinical Features or Sign and Symptoms of Measles Disease:

1. Prodromal (catarrhal) or pre-emptive stage: (Starts after 10 days of infection and lasts 3 to 5 days).

  • Fever,
  • Malaise,
  • Coryza,
  • Sneezing,
  • Nasal discharge,
  • Brasy cough,
  • Redness of eyes,
  • Lacrimation,
  • Often photophobia.

2. Eruptive or Exanthematous stage: (3 -5 days after the onset of the disease).

  • Maculopapular rash,
  • Anorexia,
  • Malaise,
  • Cervical lympadenopathy may present,
  • There is fine shedding of superficial skin of face, trunk and limbs, leaving brownish discoloration which may persist for 2 months or more.

3. Convalescent or post-measles stage:

  • It is the period of disappearance of constitutional symptom, fever and rash.
  • But usually the child remains sick for number of days and lost weight.

Diagnosis of Measles Disease:

It is primarily clinical, needing no investigations.

  • The leukocyte count is low but slowly rises to normal as the rash fades.
  • In case of superadded bacterial infections, a sharp leukocytosis often occurs.
  • Measles-specific IgM antibody persists for 30-60 days following the rash.
  • ELISA and hemagglutination inhibition are the most sensitive for detecting measles antibodies which if increased 4 times, are diagnostic of measles.

Treatment of Measles Disease:

It includes the following:

  • Bed rest,
  • Isolation for 1 week after appearance of rash,
  • Analgesic and antipyretic,
  • Care of eye,
  • Oral hygiene is maintained,
  • Maintenance of fluid and nutrition,
  • Vitamin A capsule on 1, 2nd and 7th day,
  • Antibiotic to prevent secondary bacterial infection.

More questions related to this article:

  1. Define measles.
  2. What do you mean by measles?
  3. What is measles?
  4. Write down the epidemiological features of measles.
  5. Write down the clinical features of measles.
  6. How will you treat measles?
  7. Write down the management of measles.
  8. How will you diagnosed a case of measles?
  9. Write down the diagnosis of measles.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top