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What are the measles What is measles and what causes it Measles is an infectious childhood disease that causes a skin rash The rubeola virus causes it It is also called red measles or seven-day measles Although a childhood disease it can affect adults too Once a rite of childhood measles has become much less common in North America Measles is considered the most serious contagious childhood disease because of the complications associated with it pneumonia encephalitis and meningitis Other complications are croup ear infection conjunctivitis and hepatitis Another form of measles is called rubella or German measles three-day measles It is also caused by a virus but is a very mild infection Symptoms appear 2 to 3 weeks after exposure to the virus and include mild fever and a skin rash If a pregnant woman contracts rubella early in her pregnancy the chances of birth defects are as high as 80 percent These defects include deafness blindness heart damage and small brain What are its symptoms The disease starts with a high temperature of 102 degrees F followed by fatigue loss of appetite and cold symptoms of runny nose sneezing and coughs Red eyes sensitivity to light and tiredness will follow After about 3 days a red blotchy rash starts on the face then spreads to the rest of the body The rash lasts for up to a week The fever starts to go down on the second or third day of the rash There may be peeling of the skin after the rash goes away Is it preventable Immunization has been available since 1963 It is difficult to prevent a disease caused by a virus but one of the best ways of preventing the disease is immunization all infants when they are 15 months old It is recommended that the vaccine be given again before the
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