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What are the symptoms of measles?

Measles is the most serious of the four diseases. It is a highly infectious illness spread by droplets from the nose and mouth.

Common symptoms include: fever, rash, loss of appetite, tiredness, cough, runny nose, painful red eyes, ear infections, diarrhoea. Children who get measles usually have to spend about 5 days in bed and have 10–14 days off school, if there are no serious complications.

Serious complications include: pneumonia, self-limiting convulsions or fits due to fever and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) which may require hospitalisation. A rare late complication of measles is subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), which causes progressive brain damage and is always fatal.

What are the symptoms of mumps?

Mumps is less contagious than measles. Mumps is usually a mild disease in children. However, serious complications can occur.

Common symptoms include: low-grade fever, loss of appetite, tiredness, headache, general aches and pains, runny nose, painful and swollen glands in the cheeks, neck or under the jaw. These symptoms usually go away within 10 days or so. 

Serious complications include: inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or lining of the brain (meningitis), partial or complete deafness. Post puberty, males may experience painful, swollen testicles and females similar problems with the ovaries, either of which can very rarely cause infertility. 
 

What are the symptoms of rubella?

Rubella, which is also known as German measles, is usually a mild disease with symptoms of infection normally lasting about 48–72 hours. 

Common symptoms include: fever, tiredness, swollen glands, joint pain, sore eyes, red rash around the ears and neck. 

Serious complications include: inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), tendency to bleed or bruise (thrombocytopenia).

Congenital rubella: If a woman catches rubella during the first 3 months of her pregnancy, the virus will usually cause serious birth defects in her unborn child, singly or in combination, including deafness, blindness, heart defects and intellectual impairment.
 

What are the symptoms of varicella?

Varicella, also known as chickenpox, is a highly contagious infection, with symptoms usually lasting between 4 and 7 days. It is usually a mild disease for healthy children, but it can be more severe in adults. 

Common symptoms include: an itchy red rash that turns into fluid-filled blisters that eventually turn into scabs, fever, headache and tiredness.  

Serious complications include: pneumonia, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or lining of the brain (meningitis), tendency to bleed or bruise (thrombocytopenia). When pregnant women catch varicella, their babies may develop serious abnormalities.
 

Copyright NCIRS 2019 - Last updated 20 September 2019

 

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