Topic Completed: 1 September 2011

Minor changes: 4 August 2020

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed search: measles [title] pulmonary

Elliot Weisenberg, M.D.
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Cite this page: Weisenberg E. Measles. website. Accessed October 16th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Also called rubeola
  • Infectious acute febrile illness characterized by upper respiratory infection symptoms and maculopapular rash
  • Spread by aerosols and droplets from respiratory secretions or rarely fomites
  • Significant public health problem in United States prior to the development of an effective vaccine; still common in some nonindustrialized countries
  • Recently, recrudescence has occurred in developed world due to some parents refusing to vaccinate their children and importation (Cleve Clin J Med 2010;77:207)
  • Highly infectious, affecting up to 90% of individuals in nonimmune populations
  • Also occurs in adults (MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2011;60:666)
  • Pneumonia is serious complication of childhood exanthema
  • May cause bronchiolitis or diffuse alveolar damage
  • Secondary bacterial pneumonia may occur
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Epithelial giant cells with viral inclusions
  • Nuclei may contain a single large Cowdry type A inclusion
  • Reticuloendothelial (Warthin-Finkeldey) giant cells may be found in lymphoid tissue
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Giant cells Giant cells

Giant cells


Histopathology Lung - Measles pneumonia
Differential diagnosis
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