What causes measles?

Updated: Jun 06, 2019
  • Author: Selina SP Chen, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

The cause of measles is the measles virus, a single-stranded, negative-sense enveloped RNA virus of the genus Morbillivirus within the family Paramyxoviridae. Humans are the natural hosts of the virus; no animal reservoirs are known to exist. This highly contagious virus is spread by coughing and sneezing via close personal contact or direct contact with secretions.


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