What Is Measles and What Causes It?

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Measles, also called rubeola, is a childhood infection caused by a virus. Measles can be serious and even fatal for small children. However, measles can now almost be prevented with a vaccine. Measles is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus that replicates in the nose and throat of an infected child or adult. Then, when someone with measles coughs, sneezes or talks, infected droplets spray into the air, where other people can inhale them.