Measles is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Vaccine preventable, primarily childhood, infectious disease characterized by fever, cough, coryza, conjunctivitis, and erythematous maculopapular rash
  • Also known as rubeola
  • Incidence is low secondary to widespread immunization


  • Rubeola is a morbillivirus, a negative-strand (RNA) paramyxovirus
  • Humans are the only known reservoir
  • Highly contagious. Respiratory isolation should be initiated when suspected. Outbreaks seen in nonimmunized or underimmunized

Pregnancy Considerations
  • Increased risk of spontaneous abortion and premature contractions if infected during pregnancy.
  • Does not appear to cause birth defects.
  • Women should not be vaccinated with MMR or MMRV during pregnancy.

Geriatric Considerations
Those born before 1957 are generally considered immune. However, those in health care should receive vaccination if serologic testing reveals negative titer.

Pediatric Considerations
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella ± Varicella (MMR or MMRV) vaccine should be administered to children on or after 12 mo of age. A 2nd dose is administered at the age of 4–6 yr, before start of school.
  • Catch-up doses should be separated by at least 4 wk between vaccinations.

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