Measles, also called rubeola, is a viral disease. The virus can be found in secretions, blood and urine in the prodromal phase (the first part of the illness), and a short time after the rash appears. This virus can remain active at room temperature for 34 hours. It’s important to know that the first phase or the prodromal phase can last three to five days, and the patient has a low to moderate fever, cough, nasal congestion and conjunctivitis. The long-living virus is usually spread by the cough that occurs before the high fever and rash occur.

After two to three days there’s the appearance of gray, white spots on the hard and soft palate, which are found only with measles. These spots are called Koplik spots and may last 12 to 18 hours.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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