Measles is caused by a morbillivirus of the paramyxovirus family. Early symptoms include the onset of fever, malaise (aches and pains), coryza (head cold), conjunctivitis (red eyes) and cough.
The most common complications of measles include pneumonia, ear infection, diarrhoea and convulsions. Rarely, measles can cause encephalitis and death.
Measles is a notifiable disease in England and Wales. Health professionals must inform local health protection teams of suspected cases.
Measles is vaccine preventable. In the UK children receive 2 doses of the combined measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunisation schedule.
2018 marks 50 years since the introduction of the first measles containing vaccine into the UK childhood immunisation programme. View our online measles blog and follow the timeline to see how the programme has evolved over the last 50 years.