Complications of measles usually occur due to the invasion of virus on the respiratory tract and immune system. High mortality and morbidity is seen in patients less than 5 years of age and above 20 years of age.
Respiratory tract- In this acute Otitis media, Sinusitis, Mastoiditis, Laryngitis, Broncholitis are the
most common complications of measles. Pneumonia is the common cause of death in measles. It is manifested
as giant cell pneumonia due to superimposed bacterial (Streptococcus Pneumoniae) infection.
Primary tuberculosis may flare up after measles.
- Gastrointestinal system- Diarrhea and vomiting are association with measles. Appendicitis may occur when lymphoid tissues block the lumen of appendix.
- Encephalitis- Measles encephalitis occurs mostly in unimmunized individuals due to damage of brain cells by the invasion of measles virus. It is represented as seizures, myoclonus, stupor, mental retardation and coma.
- Subacute Scelerosing Panencephalitis(SSP)- It is a chronic complication of measles with a fatal outcome. It is characterized by myoclonic jerks, mental retardation. It occurs after 3- 8 years of the primary measles infection. It is a slow virus infection resulting in inflammation and cell death.
- Others- Febrile seizures occurs in few children following measles. Also Acute Glomerulonephritis, Steven Johnson's symptoms are the other common complications.
- Pregnancy- Measles during pregnancy if not treated can lead to preterm labor and miscarriage