The vaccine-preventable diseases discussed in this review—measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella—are all viral in etiology. See Table 1 for a summary of transmission routes, incubation periods, and isolation periods of these 4 diseases.
Measles, also known as rubeola, is caused by a paramyxovirus, Measles virus. It is one of the most infectious human diseases, and more than 90% of susceptible contacts will contract it when exposed. The virus infects an individual by respiratory droplet or aerosol spread; it remains infectious on surfaces and in the air up to 2 hours after exposure. The virus is transmit-ted via respiratory alveoli and replicates in lymphoid organs and tissues to cause systemic infections. The strong immune response initiated after measles infection results in lifelong immunity. Importantly, a profound immune suppression occurs for weeks to months after infection and is the cause for measles-associated mortality due to bacterial superinfection.3,4
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