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Can Measles be Prevented and Are There Treatment Options?

Measles Rubeola

There is no cure for measles. Once a person is infected, treatment primarily involves alleviating the symptoms with fluids and fever-reducers, and observation for signs of encephalitis and other measles complications.

Many studies have also shown that immediate administration of high doses of vitamin A (50,0000-100,000 IUs) can help control the severity of the disease, particularly in children who are malnourished. In the U.S. vitamin A treatment is often recommended for children hospitalized for measles, and in immunocompromised individuals, as well as those who have clinical evidence of being vitamin A deficient.1,2

Antiviral agents such as ribavirin and interferon have also been used to treat measles in immunocompromised individuals, although there are outstanding questions about clinical efficacy.3,4

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Measles and the Measles vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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1 Kasper D, Fauci A, Longo D, et al. Measles. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 16th Edition. 2005.

2 Frieden TR, Sowell AL, Henning KJ, et al. Vitamin A Levels and Severity of Measles. Am J Dis Child. 1992; 146(2): 182-186. 

3 Sabella C. Measles: Not Just a Childhood Rash. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. March 2010. Vol. 77 3 207-213. 

4 Forni AI, Schluger NW, Roberts RB. Severe Measles Pneumonitis in Adults: Evaluation of Clinical Characteristics and Therapy with Intravenous ribavirin. Clin Infect Dis 1994; 19:454-462. 

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