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Manitoba

Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors

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Public Health

Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by the measles virus. It is characterized by a red, blotchy rash that begins on the face. It is spread through direct contact with an infected person but mostly by inhaling the secretions from an infected person's nose or mouth. Infection can result in serious illness or death.

Image Content Provider: CDC Public Health Image Library


Measles

Red Koplik spots in a person with measles
(click to enlarge)

Symptoms

Symptoms generally appear 7 to 18 days after infection. Initial symptoms may include fever, runny nose, drowsiness, irritability and red eyes. Small white spots may also develop on the inside of the mouth or throat. Three to seven days after the initial symptoms, a red blotchy rash appears on the face and progresses down the body. Measles infection can lead to complications, including ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia (lung infection) and encephalitis (brain inflammation).


Causes

Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by the measles virus, which is spread through respiratory droplets in the air formed when coughing or sneezing. It may also spread through contact with items freshly soiled with nasal and throat discharge, but this is uncommon.

An infected person is contagious and able to spread the virus from five days before the rash appears to four days after.


Treatment

There is no cure for measles. Current treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms.


Prevention

Measles can be prevented through immunization. Manitoba has a provincial immunization program, which provides free, publicly-funded vaccines to those who are eligible.

Other precautions can be taken, including practicing good hand hygiene, covering your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, and avoiding sharing of personal items such as water bottles, lip gloss and cigarettes.


Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors Resources

For the Public

For Health Care Providers


Other Resources

For general inquiries:
Communicable Disease Control
Public Health
Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors
4th Floor - 300 Carlton St.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3B 3M9
CANADA
Phone: 204-788-6737
Fax: 204-948-2040

Health Links-Info Santé
204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257