What is Rubeola, or Measles?

Rubeola, commonly referred to as measles, is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that is spread through coughs, sneezes, and contact with an infected person. The rash caused by the virus often progresses from the head down the body and may sometimes cause other symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and conjunctivitis (pink eye). In rare cases, measles can lead to more serious, life-threatening complications, such as encephalitis (an infection of the brain).

Signs and Symptoms of Measles

The most common symptoms of measles include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Red and watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • A rash that first appears on the face and neck, and spreads to the rest of the body


To diagnose measles, a healthcare provider will look for the signs and symptoms of the disease. If they suspect measles, they may take a sample from the rash that can be tested in a laboratory for the presence of the virus that causes measles.


There is no cure for measles, but there are treatments that can help reduce the severity and duration of the disease. Common treatments for measles include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to reduce fever and body aches
  • Using moist compresses to help relieve itching


The best way to prevent measles is to get vaccinated. The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) is given in two doses at 12-15 months old and 4-6 years old. Once vaccinated, children should receive a booster vaccination before entering school.

Additionally, people should practice good hygiene by washing their hands often, covering their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and avoiding close contact with anyone who has measles.