Measles is a highly contagious viral disease occurring primarily in children. This disease is characterized by fever, cough, acute nasal mucous membrane discharge (coryza), inflammation of the lining of the eyelids (conjunctivitis), a spreading rash, and eruption of small, irregular, bright red spots (Koplik's spots) on the inner cheeks in the mouth with a minute bluish or white speck in the center of each.
It is often difficult to avoid exposure to measles because it can be contracted from someone whose symptoms have not yet appeared. Measles is not contagious four days after appearance of the rash.
As a result of vaccination to prevent measles, all cases that now occur in the United States have been brought from other countries. Measles continues to be a significant public health problem in developing countries, with 30-40 million cases per year. Most reported cases are from Africa.
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