Measles is best known for causing a fever and rash in childhood, but measles can affect other parts of the body and sometimes occurs in adults. Vaccination has significantly reduced the number of cases in the United States, although isolated outbreaks continue to occur, and measles has been occurring more frequently in recent years due to an increased number of vaccine refusals.
There are two types of measles, each caused by a different virus. Although both produce a rash and fever, they are really different diseases. When most people use the term measles, they are referring to the first condition below.
- The rubeola virus causes "red measles," also known as "hard measles" or just "measles." Although most people recover without problems, rubeola can lead to pneumonia or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).
- The rubella virus causes "German measles," also known as "three-day measles." This is usually a milder disease than red measles. However, this virus can cause significant birth defects if an infected pregnant woman passes the virus to her unborn child.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/5/2014
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Measles: