Measles is an illness caused by infection with the measles virus. Early in the infection, symptoms may include fever, tiredness, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sore eyes and photophobia. These symptoms usually worsen over three to five days, then a blotchy rash begins on the head and over the next day or two spreads down the entire body. The rash lasts four to seven days. Measles illness usually lasts about 10 days. The cough may be the last symptom to disappear.
Measles is often a severe disease, frequently followed by middle ear infection (7% of cases) or bacterial pneumonia (6% of cases). In as many as one in every 1000 cases, encephalitis occurs, often resulting in death or permanent brain damage. Sometimes brain damage may not appear until many years later. Complications from measles are more common and more severe in the chronically ill and in very young children.
The incubation period is about 10 days (range 7 to 18 days) to the onset of prodromal symptoms and about 14 days to the appearance of the rash.
The infectious period is from 24 hours prior to the onset of the prodrome to four days after the appearance of the rash. If the prodrome is poorly defined, the infectious period is considered to commence four days before the appearance of the rash.
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection transmitted via respiratory aerosols which remain a risk to others for up to 30 minutes after the person has left the area.
Measles is spread by breathing infected airborne droplets caused by coughing and sneezing, and by contact with hands, tissues and other articles soiled by nose and throat discharges.
The diagnosis is suspected from clinical examination and is best confirmed by detection of the virus (by PCR) in urine, throat, blood or eye specimens; or alternatively by serology.
Examine patients suspected of having measles in their own homes wherever possible.
Have the suspected case avoid using the waiting room and conduct the consultation in a room that can be left vacant for at least 30 minutes afterwards.
Treat all people who attend the rooms within at least 30 minutes of the infectious patient as contacts.
Additionally, if not taking pathology specimens at your rooms, inform the pathology collection centre prior to sending in a potentially infectious case, or use the SA Pathology home visiting service.
A person who is not immune suppressed is likely immune to measles if:
he or she was born in Australia before 1966 (unless serological evidence indicates otherwise) OR
he or she was born during or since 1966 and has documented evidence of receiving 2 doses of a measles-containing vaccine, with both doses given at ≥ 12 months of age and at least 4 weeks apart (unless serological evidence indicates otherwise) OR
he or she has documented evidence of immunity (i.e. a detectable measles-specific IgG) OR
he or she has documented laboratory definitive evidence of prior measles.
Measles is best prevented by receipt of two doses of measles containing vaccine. For further details see:
Letter to Measles Contacts:for distribution by the general practice to all people (including staff, patients, any persons accompanying them and other visitors) who were identified as being present in the practice (same waiting room and consultation room) at the same time as the case and for at least 30 minutes after the case left the practice.
Use of the information and data contained within this site or these pages is at your sole risk.
If you rely on the information on this site you are responsible for ensuring by independent verification its accuracy, currency or completeness.
This site includes links to other websites operated by community, business and government.
These linked websites will have their own terms and conditions of use and you should familiarise yourself with these.
All linked websites are linked 'as is' and the Government of South Australia:
does not sponsor, endorse or necessarily approve of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations regarding the quality, accuracy, merchantability or fitness for purpose of any material on websites linked from or to this Site;
does not make any warranties or representations that material on other websites to which this site is linked does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any person anywhere in the world; and
does not authorise the infringement of any intellectual property rights contained in material in other websites by linking this site to those other websites.
If you use automatic language translation services in connection with this site you do so at your own risk.
The information and data on this site is subject to change without notice. The Government of South Australia may revise this disclaimer at any time by updating this posting.
The Government of South Australia, its agents, instrumentalities, officers and employees:
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information and data contained on this site
make no representations, express or implied, as to the accuracy or usefulness of any translation of the information on this site or any linked website into another language
make no representations as to the availability of the site and the availability of websites linked from or to the site
accept no liability however arising for any loss resulting from the use of the site and any information and data or reliance placed on it (including translated information and data)
make no representations, either expressed or implied, as to the suitability of the said information and data for any particular purpose
accepts no liability for any interference with or damage to a user's computer, software or data occurring in connection with or relating to this Site or its use or any website linked to this site
do not represent or warrant that applications or payments initiated through this site will in fact be received or made to the intended recipient. Users are advised to confirm the application or payment by other means.