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Measles in babies and children - complications

Measles can cause the following serious complications:

  • 1 in 1,000 people with measles will die
  • 1 in 1,000 people with measles will develop inflammation of the brain - 1 in 4 of these people will have permanent brain damage
  • 1 in 25 will get a serious lung infection
  • measles during pregnancy can cause¬†premature birth, miscarriage, stillbirth or your baby to be born too small
  • 1 in 100,000 can develop a brain infection years after getting measles, which causes intellectual disability, seizures and death

Complications are more likely for:

  • babies under 12 months
  • pregnant women
  • those with weakened immune systems

Talk to your GP as soon as possible if you're pregnant and you think you have come into contact with measles. They can tell you how to reduce your risk of developing measles.

Page last reviewed: 14/11/2018
Next review due: 14/11/2021