Complications of measles may include:

  • Ear infection. One of the most common complications of measles is a bacterial ear infection.
  • Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup. Measles may lead to inflammation of your voice box (larynx) or inflammation of the inner walls that line the main air passageways of your lungs (bronchial tubes).
  • Pneumonia. Pneumonia is a common complication of measles. People with compromised immune systems can develop an especially dangerous variety of pneumonia that is sometimes fatal.
  • Encephalitis. About 1 in 1,000 people with measles develops encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that may cause vomiting, convulsions and, rarely, coma or even death. Encephalitis can closely follow measles, or it can occur months later.
  • Pregnancy problems. Pregnant women need to take special care to avoid measles, because the disease can cause pregnancy loss, preterm labor or low birth weight.
  • Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Measles may lead to a decrease in platelets — the type of blood cells that are essential for blood clotting.
Jun. 01, 2011