What causes it? How does it spread?

Measles is spread by liquid droplets from the nose, mouth, and throat of a person who is infected by this disease. These liquid droplets are shot out in the air when someone coughs or sneezes. Over 90% of unimmunized exposed to the diseases will contract the virus. The infected person is very contagious for four days before the rash appears, until four days after the rash appears. The virus can stay in the air(and still able to cause the disease) up to two hours after the infected person has left the area.

What are the symptoms?

The common symptoms of a Measles disease are coughing, a fever, a run-down feeling, red eyes, runny nose, and a lost of appetite. The red measles rash starts from two to four days after the person has been infected. The rash is actually small red bumps, it starts on the face then it spreads to the arms and legs. People with Measles may also form grey spots on the inside of their cheeks, these are called "Koplik spots". The rash is not itchy, but as it clears up the skin starts peeling.

How does a person become immune?
Anyone who has had the disease is immune to it for the rest of their lives. People who have taken two doses of vaccine after their first birthday have a 98% chance of being immune, therefore people must still be cautious even is they have been vaccinated. Infants before their first birthday receive some immunity from their mother, but this immunity is not complete so infants have a big risk of getting infected until they get the vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age.

Who has the biggest risk of getting this disease? When is it most dangerous to get infected?
Young children from the age of 5 - 10 years of age have the highest risk of getting infected by the Measles disease. It is most dangerous to get infected when a lady is pregnant.

Here is an example of one break out of measles in Australia.