Children's Hospital Colorado

Measles in Children (S2: E30)

Measles, once considered eliminated in the U.S., is once again a national health issue. Outbreaks have resumed due to decreased vaccination rates and the movement of unvaccinated travelers in the U.S. and abroad.

Primary care physicians (PCPs) may encounter children with measles, especially in the event of a measles outbreak in their region. They need to be aware of the symptoms of measles and current recommendations for the treatment of measles.

Listen to our expert in pediatric infectious disease discuss current measles recommendations for children

Measles, also called rubeola, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It spreads easily through the air and on infected surfaces. It poses significant risks, especially to those who cannot get vaccinated. Those include children under 12 months of age and children with weakened immune systems.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, of every 1,000 people who get measles in the U.S., 1 to 2 will die. PCPs need to discuss the risks of the disease and the benefits of measles vaccination. In today's episode, Edwin Asturias, MD, joins us to discuss the symptoms, treatment and vaccination recommendations for measles.

Dr. Asturias is the Director for Latin American Infectious Disease at Children's Hospital Colorado. He is also an associate professor of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

In today's episode, we explore:

  • The most common symptoms of measles
  • The three C's of measles: coryza, conjunctivitis and cough
  • Characteristics of the measles rash
  • When to expect to see Koplik spots, which are white spots that cluster together and precede measles
  • When infected people are contagious
  • The most common health complications of measles
  • Tools for diagnosing measles: IgM test, PCR analysis, acute and convalescent titres
  • Physicians' limited ability to treat measles
  • The effectiveness of giving vitamin A to treat measles
  • Steps for moving measles patients into isolation
  • Precautions for families
  • The vulnerability of children under 12 months of age
  • Measles vaccination recommendations and rules from the CDC and AAP
  • Why measles outbreaks are occurring and where they are originating

Treatment of measles at Children's Colorado

At Children's Colorado, our Infectious Disease (ID) team provides comprehensive care for children with measles. We specialize in pediatric care and bring multidisciplinary expertise for those children with serious complications and unique health concerns. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.