Measles Testing

With a measles outbreak in the USA that began in the Disneyland  amusement park in California, we thought we would provide some information about Measles and it’s testing.   The first case of the Measles was published by a Persian doctor back in the 9th century.  In 1963, John Enders discovered a vaccine and licensed it in the United States.

Measle Microscope Image
US Center for Disease Control CDC PHIL Image: thin-section transmission electron micrograph (TEM)

Characterized by a fever, cough, runny nose and a rash with flat red spots, the Measles maybe diagnosed through  detection of specific IgM antibodies in a serum sample collected within the first few days of rash onset.  . Detection of measles-specific IgM antibody and measles RNA by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) are the most common methods for confirming measles infection.

In the US, the  Measles Laboratory is the National Reference Laboratory that provides serologic testing  for measles a and provides technical assistance to state public health laboratories  Measles testing is performed in Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) and Herpesviruses Laboratory Branch (MMRHLB), Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.