Measles infection takes around 10 days to manifest as apparent symptoms. The symptoms may last for around 2 weeks before finally resolving on their own. The measles rash usually appears a few days afterwards.
Symptoms of measles infection in its initial phases include:-
Small pin-head size greyish-white spots (called Koplik's spots) in the mouth and throat. These develop within two days of appearance of symptoms. These may develop on the inside lining of the cheeks, so they are difficult to see.
The spots typically occur opposite the second molar teeth as small, red spots, each with a bluish-white speck in the centre. They occur in 60-70% of patients during the initial phase and remain up to 2-3 days after the rash disappears.
These are reddish brown spots. The measles rash appears two to four days after initial symptoms and lasts for up to eight days. The rash usually starts behind the ears, spread around the head and neck, then spreads to the legs and the rest of the body.
The spots are small and distinct initially but soon get bigger and join together. At later stages the rash becomes blotchy and confluent. It fades after three to four days and may peel off after a week or so. It leaves behind a brownish discoloration, sometimes accompanied by fine peel-offs.
There may be nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
In most cases the measles infection passes without severe complications. In some children however there may development of complications. These complications may be debilitating or even life threatening. These include:-