Red Koplik spots in a person with measlesMeasles 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.

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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).


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.


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


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.

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