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Measles virus (Morbillivirus)

The measles virus

The measles virus is a member of the morbillivirus genus and the paramyxovirus family. This family contains a number of viruses transmitted by the respiratory tract, including, for example, parainfluenza viruses, the rubella agent, metapneumovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus. Paramyxoviruses are about 150-300 nanometers in diameter, 4-6 times smaller than a bacteria. Paramyxoviruses are characterized by an envelope1 and a helicoidal2 capsid3 that protects viral RNA.

Very contagious

Measles is one of the childhood illnesses that can be prevented by vaccination, like mumps and rubella. This disease has an extremely high transmission capacity with an initial reproduction rate4 (R0) of around 9, which is 3 times the R0 of the initial Sars-CoV-2 Coronavirus and 6 times that of the influenza virus. Due to its high contagiousness, epidemics occur in populations insufficiently protected by vaccination.

Thus, in 2018, a large epidemic occurred at the University of Lausanne among students, and made the headlines of Swiss newspapers.