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Updated: 1/14/2003 2:29 pm
Measles, whose technical name is 'rubeola' (roo-bee-OH-luh), is a common, highly-contagious childhood disease caused by a virus. The measles vaccine has dramatically decreased the incidence of the disease, although it hasn't totally wiped it out. Children 12- to 15-months old may be given the vaccine, which is usually part of what is known as the 'M-M-R' combination, which vaccinates for measles, mumps, and rubella (roo-BELL-uh). Measles begins with a high fever and fatigue, followed by a harsh cough, runny nose, and red eyes. White spots may develop on the mouth or inside the cheeks. After two or three days of fever, a rash develops, covering the entire body. In rare cases, children with measles develop encephalitis (en-SEFF-uh-LYE-tus), an inflammation of the brain, or pneumonia (new-MOAN-yuh). There's no cure for measles, so all you can do is have the child rest and give plenty of fluids. If the child's eyes are sensitive to light, keep the room dim. Be sure to keep the child's utensils and dishes separate to prevent the spread of infection.

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