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Measles Virus

To get more information about viruses in Paramyxoviridae family, please visit
To see my JBrowse Measles virus annotation, please visit

Table of contents



Measles virus (wikimedia)

Order Mononegavirales (wikipedia, NCBI taxonomy, ICTVdb)
Family Paramyxoviridae (wikipedia, NCBI taxonomy, ICTVdb, ICTVdb picture gallery)
Subfamily Paramyxovirinae (NCBI taxonomy, ICTVdb)
Genus Morbillivirus (wikipedia, NCBI taxonomy, ICTVdb)
Measles virus (wikipedia, NCBI Taxonomy,ICTVdb)

Measles (rubeola or 7-day measles) is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus which usually affects susceptible children, often epidemic disease (WHO, 2009; Madigan et al, 2009) The measles virus is a paramyxovirus, a negative strand RNA virus that is transmitted via inhalation. Virus can enter the nose and throat and quickly leads to systemic viremia, the medical condition where the virusesenter the bloodstream and hence have access to the rest of the body. Symptoms of infection starts with nasal discharge, redness of the eye (conjunctivitis), brassy cough, fever, and later on a rash. These symptoms usually persist for 7-10 days. The virus can trigger human immune system. After day 5 of the infection, circulatory antibodies to measles virus are measurable, and both serum antibodies and cytotoxic T-lymphocytes combine to eliminate the virus from the systems. While measles is usually a benign infection, the post-infection complications including ear infection, bronchopneumonia and measles encephalomyelitis, a neurological disorder which one in eight of patients will die, are possibly developed.

Children as the major target of measles
Picture sources: Measles rash (retrieved from


Age distribution of measles cases in India showing that childern age under 5 is the major target of measles (Kadri et al, 2008))

In 2002, this infectious disease is ranked number six on list of leading causes of death due to the infectious disease (611,000 death) and more than 95% of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructure. However, there were only 197,000 measles deaths globally in 2007 - nearly 540 deaths every day or 22 deaths every hour (WHO, 2009). A drop of about 68% in measle deaths between 2002 and 2007 is results from the active immunization with an attenuated virus preparation as part of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. A childhood case of measles generally confers lifelong immunity to reinfection.



Measles immunization through measles containing vaccines in infants declining measles deaths globally (source)

Genomic Data

The genome of measles virus contains 15,894 basepairs which code at least 6 proteins products including nucleocapsid protein, phosphoprotein, matrix protein, fusion protein, hemagglutinin protein and large polymerase. Inputing the nucleotides sequence the measle complete genome provided by NCBI to RNA molecular weight calcultor (EnCore Biotechnology Inc.), the molecular weight of 15,894 RNA basepairs is 4659223.63 Daltons or 4659.22 KiloDaltons with the GC content of 47.43 %.

Schematic diagram showing the measles structure and its genomic characteristics (Fields ed. al, 1996)

Complete genome databases

This is the link to Jbrowse containing other genome data of the measle complete genome.

Link to JBrowse at

Measles-related resources and publications

General information page

Clinical significances



Immunity and Protection


Genomic data

Nucleocapsid protein (N protein)


Fusion protein or chimeric protein

Matrix protein



Measles-ralated vedios


  • Brock Biology of Microorganisms, M. T. Madigan, J. M. Martinko, P.V. Dunlap and D. P. Clark. 2009. Prentice Hall, N.J., Twelfth Edition.
  • Fields, Bernard N., ed. Fields Virology 3rd edition. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven Publishers, 1996. 1: 1177-1313, 899-931.
  • World Health Organization. 2009. Measles. retrieved on December 5, 2009

Peerapong Pornwongthong
Department of Environmental Engineering
University of California Berkeley
My biowiki page

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