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Measles also rubeola acute highly contagious fever-producing disease caused by a filterable virus different from the virus that causes the less serious disease German measles or rubella Measles is characterized by small red dots appearing on the surface of the skin irritation of the eyes especially on exposure to light coughing and a runny nose About 12 days after first exposure the fever sneezing and runny nose appear Coughing and swelling of the neck glands often follow Four days later red spots appear on the face or neck and then on the trunk and limbs In 2 or 3 days the rash subsides and the fever falls some peeling of the involved skin areas may take place Infection of the middle ear may also occurMeasles was formerly one of the most common childhood diseases Since the development of an effective vaccine in 1963 it has become much less frequent By 1988 annual measles cases in the US had been reduced to fewer than 3500 compared with about 500000 per year in the early 1960s However the number of new cases jumped to more than 18000 in 1989 and to nearly 28000 in 1990 Most of these cases occurred among inner-city preschool children and recent immigrants but adolescents and young adults who may have lost immunity from their childhood vaccinations also experienced an increase In 1991 the number of new cases dropped to fewer than 10000 The reasons for this resurgence and subsequent decline are not clearly understood In other parts of the world measles is still a common childhood disease In the US measles is rarely fatal should the virus spread to the brain however it can cause death or brain damageNo specific treatment for measles exists Patients are kept isolated from other susceptible individuals usually resting in bed and are treated with aspirin cough syrup and skin lotions to lessen fever coughing and itching The disease usually confers immunity after one attack and an
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