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Measles is an extremely contagious viral disease that mainly affects children. The virus is spread when people cough or sneeze, or by direct contact with nasal or laryngeal secretions.

The first symptoms, which usually appear 8 to 12 days after exposure to the virus, are a high fever, rhinorrhea (runny nose), red eyes and small whitish dots inside the mouth. A rash appears several days later, usually on the face and upper neck, and gradually spreads down the body.

There is no specific treatment and most people get better within two to three weeks. However, measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhea, ear infection or pneumonia, especially in malnourished children and people with weakened immune systems. Measles can be prevented with a vaccine.

Source: World Health Organization