5 things to know about measles
- Measles is a highly-contagious, infectious disease caused by the measles virus, and can be spread by the coughing and sneezing of persons infected.
- Symptoms include fever, rashes, and conjunctivitis. Complications can include diarrhea, pneumonia, brain swelling and eye damage. In rare cases, measles can lead to brain damage, death, or miscarriage in pregnant women.
- The measles vaccine has been in use since the 1960s, and is safe and effective. It costs less than $2 to vaccinate a child, for life, against measles.
- Despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine, nearly 90,000 people, mostly young children, died from measles in 2016. Prior to its introduction, the number of annual deaths due to measles could exceed 2 million due to large outbreaks.
- Measles vaccination campaigns are estimated to have saved the lives of more than 20 million people since the year 2000. The number of global deaths due to measles fell by 84% between 2000 and 2016.
Cover photo: Sylvain Cherkaoui / COSMOS / ALIMA