Officials with Akdeniz University, in Antalya Province of Turkey, are on alert after reporting nine confirmed measles cases among students, according to a Turkish media report.

Measles/CDC
Measles/CDC

According to the report, the outbreak started when two foreign students were diagnosed after returning from abroad. Since then, seven additional students have been confirmed with the contagious viral infection.

Akdeniz University Secretary General Ali Serinoğlu said the university has “already responded to the incident with all necessary medical measures.”

Experts in the country have warned of the epidemic potential of measles with the rise of anti-vaccination thought.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can be very unpleasant and sometimes lead to serious complications. The measles virus is contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

The initial symptoms of measles develop around 10 days after you’re infected.

These can include:

  • cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, and a cough
  • sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light
  • a high temperature (fever), which may reach around 40C (104F)
  • small greyish-white spots on the inside of the cheeks

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A few days later, a red-brown blotchy rash will appear. This usually starts on the head or upper neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body.

Measles can be unpleasant, but will usually pass in about 7 to 10 days without causing any further problems.

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Once you’ve had measles, your body builds up resistance (immunity) to the virus and it’s highly unlikely you’ll get it again.

However, measles can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications in some people. These include infections of the lungs (pneumonia) and brain (encephalitis).