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Would you Know Measles if You Saw It?


A case of measles is a very rare diagnosis in the 21st century, but as MMR vaccination rates fall, the cases climb. Would you recognize the signs & symptoms?

Terry Brenneman, MD
Terry Brenneman, MD

Measles as an endemic disease was declared eliminated in the US in 2000. But outbreaks have made headlines nearly every year since 2019 when the CDC reported 981 individual cases originating in 26 states-the largest number recorded since 1992.

As of March 1, 2024, there have been 41 cases documented in 15 states. The reappearance is disheartening—and it makes some seasoned clinicians a little nervous because there are years worth of classes of medical school graduates who have never seen a case of the measles. Does that include you? Would you recognize it if it showed up in your office?

Can you put the following groups of signs and/or symptoms in the correct order of appearance in a classic case of the measles:

- Fever and malaise

- Facial rash

- Body rash

- Koplik spots on the buccal mucosa

- Coryza, conjunctivitis, and cough

Related Videos
"Vaccination is More of a Marathon than a Sprint"
Vaccines are for Kids, Booster Fatigue, and Other Obstacles to Adult Immunization
Interview with Kelly Moore, MD, MPH, president, chief executive officer, Immunization Action Coalition
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