Measles is a highly contagious, acute, exanthematous disease. It is generally self-limiting and without serious consequences, although complications such as bronchopneumonia and otitis media do occur. The most serious consequence of measles is encephalomyelitis, which is fortunately rare. Natural infection with measles virus confers permanent immunity. Populations vaccinated in childhood with attenuated measles and children vaccinated before 15 months of age may be susceptible to measles infection despite being vaccinated. Finally, measles infection poses a serious threat to immunosuppressed, or immunocompromised patients.
For these reasons, the laboratory diagnosis of measles has become increasingly important to establish the immune status of pregnant women, young adults and other high risk patients.
Measles IgG assays are used for diagnostic assessment of prior infection with measles virus. Measles IgM assays are indicated for the detection of early or recent infection.