Sequence analysis was performed on 50 measles viruses (MV) isolated in Argentina. Forty-six were obtained during the current outbreak (1997-1998), three from the previous outbreak (1991) and one sporadic case (1994). A 377-bp fragment of the hemagglutinin (H) gene was directly amplified by RT-PCR from nasopharyngeal secretions. Nucleotides 8152 to 8417 were sequenced and subjected to phylogenetic analysis. Multiple silent changes and point mutations were found in all MVs. In 1991, substitutions affected the third base in codons resulting in silent changes. In 1994 an A-->C substitution at position 8321 changed amino acids 351 (Leu-->Ile). In 1997-1998, an A-->G substitution at position 8339 changed amino acids 357 (Val-->Ile). In 3/46 viruses, guanine deletion at position 8205 changed the reading frame and insertion of an extra cytosine at nucleotide 8235 shifted it back to the original frame. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that viruses leading to the last two major outbreaks are clustered into two separate branches. MVs that prevailed until 1994 were related to genotype C1 and MVs of the current outbreak to D6. Random drift mutations rendered a 0.5 ratio of nonsilent over silent mutations in most of the MVs analyzed. However, in those showing a reading frame shift, the ratio was greater than 1, suggesting that it was driven by immune selection.