Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Acute, highly infectious and communicable disease first described c. 900 CE; an Old World zoonotic; the viral agent was identified in 1914 (an RNA virus, Rubeola, family Paramyxoviridae); an effective prophylactic vaccine was created in 1963. The virus usually enters other hosts upon contact with respiratory droplets; bluish spots are followed by the eruption of a characteristic rash; mortality ranges from 1 to 10%, most often in infants and older adults. Related animal diseases include canine distemper and bovine rinderpest.

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