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Highly contagious viral childhood disease. It initially resembles a severe cold with red eyes and fever; a blotchy rash and higher fever later develop. After recovery, patients have lifelong immunity. Adult patients tend to have more severe cases. Antibiotics now prevent death from secondary infections. Measles itself, for which there is no drug, requires only bed rest, eye protection, and steam for bronchial irritation. A vaccine developed in the 1960s proved not to give permanent immunity and is too heat-sensitive for use in tropical areas. The worldwide incidence of measles continues to rise. Research is currently directed toward development of a more stable vaccine. See alsorubella.
Variants of MEASLES
measles or rubeola
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on measles, visit Britannica.com.