The characteristic measles rash is classically described as a generalized, maculopapular, erythematous rash that begins several days after the fever starts. It starts on the back of the ears and, after a few hours, spreads to the head and neck before spreading to cover most of the body, often causing itching. The measles rash appears two to four days after the initial symptoms and lasts for up to eight days. The rash is said to "stain", changing color from red to dark brown, before disappearing.
Complications with measles are relatively common, ranging from mild and less serious complications such as diarrhea to more serious ones such as pneumonia, otitis media, acute encephalitis (and very rarely SSPE � subacute sclerosing panencephalitis), and corneal ulceration (leading to corneal scarring). Complications are usually more severe in adults who catch the virus. The death rate in the 1920s was around 30% for measles pneumonia.
Between the years 1987 and 2000, the case fatality rate across the United States was 3 measles-attributable deaths per 1000 cases, or 0.3%. In underdeveloped nations with high rates of malnutrition and poor healthcare, fatality rates have been as high as 28%. In immunocompromised patients (e.g. people with AIDS) the fatality rate is approximately 30%.
Measles virus electron micrograph
Group: Group V ((-)ssRNA)