Developed by


Morbilli (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection. Measles is similar to common cold but with a red rash. The illness lasts one week and disappears by itself. If the child has trouble breathing or becomes drowsy you must contact the doctor immediately.

Measles is an infection caused by a highly contagious virus (morbilli virus).

If you do not want your child to have measles you should have it immunised.

If you have not got the vaccine and are exposed to the illness it is too late. You can have the vaccine as an adult as well.

The illness can be divided into 2 periods. In the first period (2 to 4 days) the child has a high fever (39-40°C), a stuffy head, cough and small red irritated eyes – it seems a common cold. After 24 hours with a normal temperature another period begins where the child has a fever once again and a rash. The rash starts in the face and spreads to the rest of the body in a couple of days. In the beginning the rash consists of small spots but little by little the spots fuse together. The rash is red. While the rash is spreading the symptoms of common cold from the first period returns and the child feels more ill. The temperature drops when the rash has lasted for a couple of days. The child is often very ill and the illness lasts for about a week.

Measles can lead to pneumonia, inflammation of the middle ear and in rare cases meningitis. Therefore you must pay attention to if the child has trouble breathing, complains over pain in the ears and/or becomes drowsy.

Measles are untreatable. However, with children who are more than one year old and who has not had the vaccine, a vaccine may have a preventive effect. The vaccine must be ministered within 72 hours of the child’s exposure to the illness.

Click here to read about how you evaluate your child


Measles infects by air through coughing and sneezing. The illness is highly contagious and can spread from room to room. The child can infect other already before it falls ill from the measles. It is therefore extremely difficult to prevent spreading of the disease among children who has not been immunised.

Day care:
The temperature must be normal and the child should have regained its strength before it returns to day care or school.

What can you do?

When the child has a fever it should be dressed lightly and stay in a cool room. The child should have plenty to drink. In the case of fever, paracetamol will lower the temperature and soothe the child.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

temperature is more than 39.5°C. If you suspect your child has measles, has not been immunised and has not had measles before. If the temperature does not lower after a couple of days after the rash has started.

Contact the doctor immediately

If the child is less than six months old and the temperature is more than 39.5°C. If the child seems drowsy. If the child has trouble breathing.