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Measles is an acute illness caused by morbillivirus. The disease is transmitted via airborne respiratory droplets, or by direct contact with nasal and throat secretions of infected individuals.

The main symptoms are fever, rash, cough, running nose and eye infection, appearing after an incubation period of 10 to 12 days. Complications are possible, including pulmonary infection, brain infection and secondary bacterial infections. Only the latter require treatment, by the use of antibiotics.

The disease is preventable by a vaccine providing lifelong immunity to most recipients. The elimination of measles by 2015 (interruption of indigenous measles transmission) is part of the WHO strategic plan for measles and congenital rubella infection in the WHO European Region.

Read more about measles in the factsheet for health professionals and in the factsheet for general public.



Immunisations have led to the control and elimination of diseases in Europe that in the past caused death and disability for millions of people. The global eradication of smallpox and the elimination of poliomyelitis from most regions of the world are excellent examples of successful vaccination programmes.

The effective control in Europe of diphtheria and tetanus and the remarkable reduction



A platform of vaccination schedules for individual European countries searcheable by country, disease and specific age groups.  










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