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Measles, also called rubeola, is a highly contagious disease caused by the measles virus. The measles virus grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. Before a vaccine was available, almost everyone was infected with the measles virus during childhood. Vaccination for measles in the United States began in 1963, which dramatically reduced measles disease in the United States. However, measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. Each year around the world, measles infects about 20 million people and kills about 164,000 people; 100,000 of these deaths are children.
For information on the current outbreak of measles in Washington State, please visit the Washington State Department of Health's website.
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