Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. It's now uncommon in the UK because of the effectiveness of vaccination.


Measles is a very contagious infection caused by a virus. It usually gets better on its own, but it can make some people very ill.


The main symptom of measles is a red-brown blotchy rash. You may have cold-like symptoms for a few days before the rash appears.


Measles is spread through coughs and sneezes. A person is most contagious from when symptoms develop until about 4 days after the rash first appears.


The MMR vaccine can prevent measles. The vaccine is given as part of the routine NHS childhood vaccination programme.


There's no specific treatment for measles. Rest, take painkillers and drink plenty of fluids to help ease the symptoms until it has run its course.

Page last reviewed: 14/08/2018
Next review due: 14/08/2021