Measles (disease)

   Measles is an acute, highly contagious disease with a fever and spotting on the skin. It usually affects children. Occasionally adults will contract the disease if they have never had it in childhood. One attack usually protects the individual from future attacks, but there are similar diseases, such as German measles, from which the patient is not protected. This latter is a short-lasting illness and has been called Rubella, or "three-day measles."
   After a person has been exposed, a period of ten days or two weeks elapses before the patients shows any signs of an illness. The illness starts in a mild way with a chill, a slight fever, a "running" nose, a cough, and reddened eyes. After three or four days a dusky red rash breaks out on the skin and even shows itself on the inside of the mouth. The rash and other symptoms continue for about four days and gradually subside. The skin clears as the patient recovers.
   The disease is caused by a virus which is passed from one person to another in the early stages of the illness. Measles formerly was thought to be a mild disease, but is now considered serious and is sometimes fatal. If it is complicated by pneumonia or a run­ning ear, it requires more care. These conditions usually clear up with appropriate treatment. Even mild cases lower a person's resistance, making him more susceptible for a time to tuberculosis and other diseases. Protection from cold and dampness should continue for ten days or two weeks after the patient appears well.