The measles infection occurs in consecutive stages over two to three weeks.
~ Infection and incubation - for the first 10 to 14 days after you've been infected, the measles virus incubates. You will have no signs or symptoms of measles during this time.
~ Nonspecific signs and symptoms - measles typically begins with a mild to moderate fever, this is often accompainied by a persistent cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes(conjunctivistis) and sore throat. This can last two or three days.
~ Acute illness and rash - The rash consists of small red spots, some of which are slightly raised. Spots and bumps in tight clusters give the skin a splotchy red appearance. The face breaks out first. Over the next few days, the rash spreads down the arms and trunk, then over the thighs, lower legs and feet. At this stage the fever rises sharply, ofen as high as 40 to 41°c) The measles rash gradually recedes fading first from the face and last from the thighs and feet.
~ Communicable period - A person with measles can spread the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days.
~ Call the doctor when you think you or your child may have been exposed to measles or if you or your child has a rash resembling measles.