Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the measles virus. The disease is also called rubeola. Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough, and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die. Adults can also get measles especially if they are not vaccinated. Children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 are at higher risk for measles complications including pneumonia, and a higher risk of hospitalization and death from measles than school-aged children and adolescents.
Other rash-causing diseases often confused with measles include roseola (roseola infantum) and rubella (German measles).