Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of infected people. It can be passed to other people through coughing and sneezing.

If other people breathe contaminated air or touch infected surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, they can become infected.

Animals do not catch or spread measles.

Measles is one of the most contagious diseases

Measles is so contagious that if one person catches it, up to 90% of people who are close to that person who have no immunity will also get it.

An infected person can transmit the measles to others between four days before and up to four days after the rash appears.

The measles virus can live up to two hours in the air after an infected person has left an area.

Signs and symptoms

7 – 14 days after infection with measles: first symptoms appear

Measles is not just a small rash. Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. Measles usually starts with

2-3 days after onset of symptoms: Koplik spots.

Small white spots (Koplik spots) may appear in the mouth two to three days after the onset of symptoms.

3-5 days after onset of symptoms: measles rash

The rash appears three to five days after the onset of symptoms. It usually starts as a flat red patch that appears on the face at the hairline and spreads to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.

Small bumps may also appear over flat red spots.
The spots may coalesce as they spread from the head to the body.
When a rash appears, a person’s body temperature can rise up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

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