Measles (Rubeola)


measles or rubeola (rōōbē´ələ), highly contagious disease of young children, caused by a filterable virus and spread by droplet spray from the nose, mouth, and throat of individuals in the infective stage. This period begins 2 to 4 days before the appearance of the rash and lasts from 2 to 5 days thereafter. The first symptoms of measles, after an incubation period of 7 to 14 days, are fever, nasal discharge, and redness of the eyes. Characteristic white spots appear in the mouth, followed by a rash on the face that spreads to the rest of the body. The symptoms disappear in 4 to 7 days.

One attack of measles confers lifelong immunity. However, it renders the patient susceptible to other more serious infections such as bronchial pneumonia and encephalitis. The measles virus has also been associated with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), which causes chronic brain disease in children and adolescents. After the attack of measles, it can cause intellectual deterioration, convulsive seizures, and motor abnormalities and is usually fatal. Common measles in pregnant women can be a threat to the unborn child, and vaccination of women well before pregnancy is recommended (see also rubella, or German measles).

Immunization by injection of live measles-virus vaccine, first marketed in 1963, has proven effective. Given at first with gamma globulin, the vaccine was further developed by 1965 so that one shot alone gives long-term, probably lifetime, immunity; a nationwide program was established in the United States for the vaccination of all children over the age of nine months. Measles has been eliminated in the Americas, but epidemics still occur in regions where vaccination rates are low and health care is poor, and outbreaks can occur in the Americas when infected persons travel there from other regions.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Measles (Rubeola): Selected full-text books and articles

The Epidemic Streets: Infectious Disease and the Rise of Preventive Medicine, 1856-1900 By Anne Hardy Clarendon Press, 1993
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "Measles"
Viruses, Plagues, and History By Michael B. A. Oldstone Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "Measles Virus"
The Vaccine Controversy: The History, Use, and Safety of Vaccinations By Kurt Link Praeger, 2005
Librarian's tip: Chap. 10 "Measles Vaccine"
Immunization: The Reality behind the Myth By Walene James Bergin & Garvey, 1995 (2nd edition)
Librarian's tip: "MMR and Polio Vaccines" begins on p. 10
Immunization among African American Children: Implications for Social Work By Copeland, Valire Carr Health and Social Work, Vol. 21, No. 2, May 1996
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers By Laurie C. Miller Oxford University Press, 2004
Librarian's tip: Chap. 21 "Immunizations and Vaccine-Preventable Diseases"
Mortality Rates 1910-1920 with Population of the Federal Censuses of 1910 and 1920 and Intercensal Estimates of Population By Richard Corcoran Lappin; William Horace Davis Government Printing Office, 1923
Librarian's tip: "Measles" begins on p. 39
The Methods and Uses of Anthropological Demography By Alaka M. Basu; Peter Aaby Clarendon Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: Discussion of measles begins on p. 223
Lost Paradises and the Ethics of Research and Publication By Francisco M. Salzano; A. Magdalena Hurtado Oxford University Press, 2004
Librarian's tip: Chap. 8 "Disease Susceptibility among New World Peoples"
Vaccine-Induced Antibody Responses as Parameters of the Influence of Endogenous and Environmental Factors. (Research Review) By Van Loveren, Henk; Van Amsterdam, Jan G. C.; Vandebriel, Rob J.; Kimman, Tjeerd G.; Rumke, Hans C.; Steerenberg, Peter S.; Vos, Jeff G Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 109, No. 8, August 2001
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
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