infants and those with serious health problems may become severely ill with measles and die. infants are the most likely patients to have complications, including secondary ear and chest infections that usually occur as the fever returns after the rash appears. There also may be diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Measles pneumonia in children may trigger serious breathing problems.
About one in every 1,000 patients goes on to develop encephalitis with headache, drowsiness, and vomiting, beginning seven to 10 days after the rash starts. This may be followed by seizures and coma, leading to mental retardation or death. (Febrile seizures are common with measles, however, and do not necessarily indicate the presence of encephalitis.)
Measles during pregnancy can cause fetal death in about one-fifth of all cases, but there is no evidence that measles causes birth defects.
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