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Severe acute measles pneumonitis: virus isolation in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid


In the past few years, several endemic outbreaks of measles have been recognised, not only in children but also in adults, with severe and, occasionally, even fatal complications, possibly due to delayed diagnosis of the disease in adult medicine and decreasing vaccination rates. Furthermore, the treatment consists of supportive measures only. We present a case of severe measles pneumonitis in a 42-year-old man, a travel returnee, proven by direct virus isolation with PCR from bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. CT findings and pulmonary function testing revealed features of obstructive bronchiolitis; the patient was successfully treated with corticosteroids. He fully recovered, and lung function measurement returned to normal values. We conclude that acute measles can present as obstructive bronchiolitis and may be successfully treated with corticosteroids.

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