Treatment Guideline Chart
Measles, also known as rubeola, is a highly contagious disease caused by the measles virus Morbillivirus.
It is characterized by generalized maculopapular rash, fever, cough, rhinitis and conjunctivitis. Transmission is through respiratory tract or conjunctivae following contact with droplet aerosols.
It is highly communicable from 4 days before the rash up to 4 days after its onset.
The incubation period from exposure to prodrome averages 7-21 days.

Measles Treatment

Supportive Therapy

  • Patients are provided with supportive care

Oxygen Therapy

  • May be given in patients with respiratory tract involvement

Hydration and Nutrition

  • Oral rehydration is effective in majority of cases; oral rehydration salts may be used especially in patients with diarrhea
  • Administer IV fluids, if necessary
  • Increase feeding frequency as necessary; breastfeeding should be continued


  • May be used to relieve fever

Vitamin A

  • Recommended in the following patients with measles:
    • Hospitalized patients 6 months-2 years of age with complications
    • Patients >6 months of age who have not received vitamin A supplementation and who have any of the following risk factors: Vitamin A deficiency, immunodeficient state, impaired intestinal absorption, moderate to severe malnutrition, travel history to areas where high mortality rates are attributed to measles
  • May be taken as single dose of 50,000 IU PO for patients <6 months, 100,000 IU PO for patients 6-11 months or 200,000 IU PO for ≥1 year of age
  • Dose is repeated the next day and 4 weeks later especially in patients with ophthalmologic evidence of vitamin A deficiency

Other Therapies

Post-exposure Prophylaxis

  • May be protected either by Ig immunization or vaccine administration (should not be administered simultaneously)
  • Measles vaccine or MMR vaccine is effective if given within 72 hours of exposure
  • Ig is administered up to 6 days post-exposure
    • Indicated in susceptible contacts of measles patients eg infants <12 months of age, immunocompromised individuals
    • For infants 6-11 months of age, MMR should be used instead of Ig if given within 72 hours post-exposure

Investigational Agents

  • Some experts suggest the use of Ribavirin for the treatment of measles pneumonia in patients <12 months of age, ≥12 months of age with pneumonia requiring ventilatory support, and those with severe immunosuppression
  • Some studies suggest survival benefit in patients given Isoprinosine (Inosine pranobex) and Interferon alpha/beta
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