Measles Antibody (IgM)

There are no preparation instructions.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Measles AntibodyIgM, Rubeola, IgM

Measles Antibody (IgM)

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The Measles Antibody (IgM) test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Description: The Measles Antibody IgM test is used to measure the blood’s serum for measles antibodies, which may be present because of an active infection.

Also Known As: Rubeola Test, Measles Virus Test, Measles Infection Test

Collection Method: Blood draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Measles Antibody IgM test ordered?

When a person has measles-like signs and symptoms, or has been exposed to someone who has the virus and now has a fever and some symptoms that could be attributable to measles, IgM and IgG antibody testing may be requested.  These tests are usually ordered early in the infection's progress.

Measles symptoms usually appear 7 to 18 days after exposure and include at least one of the following:

  • A common rash that begins on the face and progresses down the body to the trunk and legs
  • Fever that is very high
  • Coughing that is dry
  • Itchy, red, watery eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • A stuffy nose
  • Throat irritation
  • Inside the mouth, there are tiny white dots

When numerous persons have been exposed and show the signs and symptoms indicated above, testing may be required during a suspected or confirmed outbreak.

What does a Measles Antibody IgM blood test check for?

The viruses that cause measles and mumps belong to the Paramyxoviridae family. They both induce infections that normally go away within a few days, but in rare situations, they might lead to significant problems. Both can be avoided by being vaccinated. Antibodies developed in response to infection may be detected in the blood during measles and mumps testing. In addition, employing culture or a molecular approach such as polymerase chain reaction, the virus or its genetic material can be detected directly in a sample. These techniques can be used to a wide range of samples.

The number of instances of measles and mumps infections in the United States has dropped from several hundred thousand to a few hundred per year. Comprehensive measles and mumps immunization campaigns are to blame for the declines. While vaccines exist for each virus, combination vaccines, such as MMR, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella all at once, are commonly used. In recent years, the majority of new cases in the United States have occurred in rare outbreaks, mostly among persons who have not been vaccinated, particularly those who have gone to places of the world where measles or mumps are more common.

Rubeola, often known as measles, is a highly contagious viral infection spread through respiratory secretions. The virus infects cells in the lungs and back of the throat, causing symptoms such as a fever that is high, red eyes, a dry cough, sensitivity to light, a sore throat, runny nose tiny white spots inside the mouth, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the body after 1 to 2 weeks.

The majority of patients recover in a few weeks, but up to 20% of them experience consequences such as ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, or, in rare cases, encephalitis or blindness. People who are malnourished, deficient in vitamin A, or have weakened immune systems are more likely to be affected. Women who are pregnant and infected with measles are more likely to have a miscarriage or go into labor prematurely.

Vaccination has greatly reduced the number of persons infected with measles in the United States and many other countries of the world, but the World Health Organization (WHO) still considers measles to be a top cause of mortality in children under the age of five. Measles killed roughly 145,700 individuals worldwide in 2013, according to their estimates, the majority of whom were youngsters under the age of five.

The outcome of the immunization campaign In the United States, endemic measles was declared eradicated in 2000. Small outbreaks, however, continue to occur on a yearly basis. The majority of cases occur in people who are either unvaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown, and most outbreaks are linked to travel to locations where measles outbreaks are happening.

According to the CDC, 911 cases of measles were reported from 63 outbreaks between 2001 and 2011. With almost 600 cases recorded in 2014, the United States experienced the greatest number of measles cases in 20 years. Many were linked to visitors who had visited the Philippines, where there had been an unusually significant outbreak of over 50,000 cases.

The CDC, as well as the medical communities in the United States and around the world, remain worried and watchful. Measles is still endemic in many parts of the world, there is always the possibility of travelers spreading the disease, and small percentages of the population remain unvaccinated.

Lab tests often ordered with a Measles Antibody IgM test:

  • Measles Antibody IgG
  • Mumps Antibody tests
  • Rubella Antibody tests
  • Varicella Zoster Virus Antibody tests
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

Conditions where a Measles Antibody IgM test is recommended:

  • Mumps
  • Rubella
  • Meningitis
  • Travelers’ Diseases
  • Pancreatitis
  • Infertility
  • Pneumonia
  • Pregnancy

How does my health care provider use a Measles Antibody IgM test?

Antibody tests for measles can be used to:

  • Confirm if a person is virus-free due to previous infections or vaccinations.
  • Diagnosis of a measles outbreak
  • In order to protect the public's health, epidemics must be detected, monitored, and tracked.

Antibody analysis

Antibody testing can be used to confirm immunity, identify a current infection, or follow outbreaks. Antibodies to the measles viruses are viral-specific proteins produced by the immune system in response to infection with the virus or immunization. IgM and IgG antibodies are the two types of antibodies generated. IgM antibodies are the first to emerge in the blood after exposure or immunization. IgM antibody levels rise over several days to a peak, then gradually decline over the next few weeks. IgG antibodies take a little longer to develop, but once they do, they remain positive for the rest of your life, protecting you from re-infection. By comparing the levels of antibody in two blood samples taken weeks apart, it is sometimes possible to distinguish between an active and past infection.

What do my Measles Antibody test results mean?

When IgM antibodies to measles are present in someone who hasn't been vaccinated recently, it's likely that they have a current measles infection. When both IgM and IgG antibodies are present, or there is a fourfold increase in concentrations between acute and convalescent IgG antibody testing, it is likely that the person is now infected or has recently been infected with measles.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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