Measles (morbilli) is one of the most contagious diseases that exist and is caused by the measles virus. The virus can be transmitted from person to person. Symptoms of illness Measles starts with fever, cough, nose cold and eye inflammation. About two to four days later, red spots appear. The measles virus can also cause middle ear infection and diarrhoea and in severe cases pneumonia, convulsions or cerebral inflammation. In very rare cases, measles causes brain inflammation that starts on average 7 years after measles and is always fatal. Young children, adults and people with reduced immunity have a greater risk of becoming seriously ill if they develop measles than healthy children of primary school age. The risk of dying for measles patients in the Netherlands is less than 1 in 10,000 cases. In developing countries, an estimated 250 children die of measles each day.