Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of measles generally appear about seven to 14 days after a person is infected.

Measles typically begins with

  • high fever,
  • cough,
  • runny nose (coryza), and
  • red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis).

Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth.

Koplik Spots

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Mouth of a patient with Koplik spots, an early sign of measles infection.

Infographic

Infographic. Measles symptoms typically include

Three to five days after symptoms begin, a rash breaks out. It usually begins as flat red spots that appear on the face at the hairline and spread downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. Small raised bumps may also appear on top of the flat red spots. The spots may become joined together as they spread from the head to the rest of the body. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104° Fahrenheit.

Measles Rash

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Skin of a patient after 3 days of measles infection.

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Page last reviewed: February 5, 2018