OBJECTIVE AND DESIGN: Risk factors for severe measles are poorly investigated in high-income countries. The Italian Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases conducted a retrospective study in children hospitalised for measles from January 2016 to August 2017 to investigate the risk factors for severe outcome defined by the presence of long-lasting sequelae, need of intensive care or death. RESULTS: Nineteen hospitals enrolled 249 children (median age 14.5 months): 207 (83%) children developed a complication and 3 (1%) died. Neutropaenia was more commonly reported in children with B3-genotype compared with other genotypes (29.5% vs 7.7%, p=0.01). Pancreatitis (adjusted OR [aOR] 9.19, p=0.01) and encephalitis (aOR 7.02, p=0.04) were related to severe outcome in multivariable analysis, as well as C reactive protein (CRP) (aOR 1.1, p=0.028), the increase of which predicted severe outcome (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.67, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.82). CRP values >2 mg/dL were related to higher risk of complications (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.15 to 3.7, p=0.01) or severe outcome (OR 4.13, 95% CI 1.43 to 11.8, p<0.01). CONCLUSION: The risk of severe outcome in measles is independent of age and underlying conditions, but is related to the development of organ complications and may be predicted by CRP value.