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Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by an RNA virus, known as a paramyxovirus.

Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by an RNA virus, known as a paramyxovirus. The virus can remain alive in the air for a maximum of two hours. Disease incubation is from 1 to 2 weeks but symptoms can last up to 10 days. During the early symptoms (prodromal stage) of the disease it is most contagious and the person remains infectious for quite some time. Approximately 90 percent of exposed people get sick with the measles. People become infected when they come into contact with droplets created by sick people who cough or sneeze. Symptoms Include:

Measles can cause serious illness in some people which leads to brain swelling and even blindness. Measles can even cause death from infections such as pneumonia, and less commonly, encephalitis.

If people are immunized Measles can be prevented. The vaccine against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) provides protection against the infection. The prevalence of measles in the population has declined with widespread vaccination.

Rubella is a virus that also has RNA as its nucleic acid. It can be transmitted by respiratory secretions, from coughing or sneezing individuals, similar to the measles. People who are infected are infectious for up to a week before showing symptoms and for about two weeks after developing symptoms. It is also called German measles and is not as infectious as measles. The disease can take about 2 to 3 weeks to incubate.

Mild fever (less than 38.3o Celcius), general fatigue, conjunctivitis, and swollen lymph nodes. In some patients even, sore joints can occur. Painful swollen lymph nodes are normal in the neck and the back of the throat turns reddish in color. There are no early symptoms (a prodromal stage), in rubella. Rubella has some similar symptoms to measles because rash and fever occur. Rubella is very dangerous for pregnant women and can cause newborn problems such as deafness, microcephalus and even stillbirths. It can even cause cataracts and neonatal heart defects if the mother is exposed during pregnancy.

MMR vaccine is the best defense against rubella. Rubella incidence decreased as vaccination programs started.

A person with the MMR (mumps measles rubella)  vaccine may be vaccinated against both of these diseases.

Rubella is not the same as measles, but the two diseases have some symptoms in common, including red rash.   Rubella is caused by a virus that is distinct from measles and rubella is not as infectious or as serious as measles. The vaccine against rubella prevention is highly effective.

All children are advised to get the MMR vaccine. It protects from three diseases that are are potentially serious.

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