As the death toll from measles in the current outbreak in Vietnam continues to rise, doctors are noting that a common complication to the viral disease being seen in pneumonia, according to a Thanh Nien news report today.

Measles rash Image/CDC
Measles rash

During a Health Ministry conference, physicians say many patients died of pneumonia or other related complications within their first few days of infection.

The measles virus appears to be attacking patients’ ability to breath, rather than the brain as it did in previous years, leading to fatality rates higher than usual, according to doctors.

Despite thousands of cases of measles reported in Vietnam, the Health Ministry has not announced a pandemic.  For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

Measles or rubeola, is an acute highly communicable viral disease that is characterized by Koplik spots in the cheek or tongue very early in the disease. A couple of days later a red blotchy rash appears first on the face, and then spreads, lasting 4-7 days. Othersymptoms include fever, cough and red watery eyes. The patient may be contagious from four days prior to the rash appearance to four days after rash appearance.

The disease is more severe in infants and adults. Complications from measles which is reported in up to 20% of people infected include; seizures, pneumonia, deafness and encephalitis.