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Fighting Measles

Measles, also known as morbilli, English measles, or rubeola (and not to be confused with rubella (German measles) or roseola) is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory system, immune system, and skin caused by a paramyxovirus of the genusMorbillivirus. Symptoms usually develop 7–14 days after exposure to an infected person. Initial symptoms typically include afever, often greater than 40 °C (104.0 °F), Koplik's spots (spots in the mouth, these usually appear 1–2 days prior to the rash and last 3–5 days), malaise, loss of appetite, hacking cough (although this may be the last symptom to appear), runny nose and red eyes. After this comes a spot-like rash that covers much of the body. The course of measles, provided there are no complications, such as bacterial infections, usually lasts about 7–10 days.
Measles is an airborne disease which spread easily through the coughs and sneezes of an infected person. Most (90%) people who are not immune who share living space with an infected person will catch it. The time between initial exposure and the start of symptoms is usually nine to twelve days. The period of infectivity has not been definitively established, some saying it lasts from two to four days prior, until two to five days following the onset of the rash (i.e., four to nine days infectivity in total), whereas others say it lasts from two to four days prior until the complete disappearance of the rash. The rash usually appears between two and three days after the onset of illness.

The measles vaccine is effective at preventing the disease. Vaccination has resulted in a 75% decrease in deaths from the disease since the year 2000 with about 85% of children globally being vaccinated. Measles resulted in about 96,000 deaths in 2013 down from 545,000 deaths in 1990. In 1980, before widespread vaccination, the disease is estimated to have caused 2.6 million deaths per year. Most of those who die are less than five years old.

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