by Paul A. Rota, William J. Moss, Makoto Takeda, Rik L. de Swart, Kimberly M. Thompson, and James L. Goodson, Nature Reviews Disease Primers 2016; 2:16049 (published on-line July 14, 2016, doi:10.1038/nrdp.2016.49, read on-line free)


Measles is an infectious disease in humans caused by the measles virus (MeV). Before the introduction of an effective measles vaccine, virtually everyone experienced measles during childhood. Symptoms of measles include fever and maculopapular skin rash accompanied by cough, coryza and/or conjunctivitis. MeV causes immunosuppression, and severe sequelae of measles include pneumonia, gastroenteritis, blindness, measles inclusion body encephalitis and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis. Case confirmation depends on clinical presentation and results of laboratory tests, including the detection of anti-MeV IgM antibodies and/or viral RNA. All current measles vaccines contain a live attenuated strain of MeV, and great progress has been made to increase global vaccination coverage to drive down the incidence of measles. However, endemic transmission continues in many parts of the world. Measles remains a considerable cause of childhood mortality worldwide, with estimates that >100,000 fatal cases occur each year. Case fatality ratio estimates vary from <0.01% in industrialized countries to >5% in developing countries. All six WHO regions have set goals to eliminate endemic transmission of MeV by achieving and maintaining high levels of vaccination coverage accompanied by a sensitive surveillance system. Because of the availability of a highly effective and relatively inexpensive vaccine, the monotypic nature of the virus and the lack of an animal reservoir, measles is considered a candidate for eradication.
Background on measles and rubella