View / Select Health Topics


13 Feb 2012
  • print

Image source: CDC/Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald; Wikimedia Commons – Measles


Measles is a highly infectious respiratory virus stemming from the paramyxovirus group that can be spread through coughing, sneezing and touching contaminated surfaces. Usually contracted during childhood, measles causes flu-like symptoms and a rash on the body.

  • Contact with the rubeola virus



Initial symptoms of measles can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Red eyes and light sensitivity to light


Following these initial symptoms, the following symptoms are likely to appear:

  • Red, blotchy rash will appear on the body
  • Spots or blisters on hands and feet
  • White spots inside the cheeks


  • Rest
  • Paracetamol to relieve pain
  • Hydration
  • Severe cases may require antibiotic treatment


Children under the age of five, adults and those with chronic illnesses are more at risk of developing complications from measles. These can include: otitis media, diarrhoea, vomiting, pneumonia, encephalitis and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.

A vaccination is available for measles (MMR) and, according to figures, is 99 per cent effective in preventing the virus.


For more information about getting your child immunised, see:
Healthpages – Child Health Services – MMR immunisation
Immunisation Advisory Centre – Measles


For measles outbreak updates, see: Ministry of Health – Updates: Measles.




Video: NHS – Measles



Video: Dr Samuel Katz – What is Measles?




Ministry of Health – Measles – Measles
Immunisation Advisory Council – Measles
DermNet NZ – Measles



NHS – Measles
Health Protection Agency UK
Better Health Channel, Australia – Measles
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US



British Medical Journal
Journal of the American Medical Association
The Lancet



eHealth Forum – Measles
MDJuntion – Measles Forum



The information above is of a general nature and is designed to provide you with an overview of the topic, with links to local and international resources that may be of interest.  We do our best to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date.

You should always, however, seek specific professional medical advice, treatment and care appropriate to you, and as such we strongly recommend you consult with your general practitioner first.



Updated April 2012
Image source: Wikimedia Commons – Measles