Measles is a highly communicable illness caused by morbillivirus. This virus replicates in the nose or pharynx of an infected child or adult. If an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, the droplets spread in the air and other people may inhale them. The infected droplets may also drop onto surfaces where they remain active and contagious for hours. People get infected by touching these surfaces and then putting the infected fingers in their mouth, nose or rubbing their eyes following contact with the surfaces.
Anyone who hasn’t been immunised or hasn’t had the infection in the past can get the infection. It is found that the infection clears in around seven to ten days. Once you have had measles, your body develops resistance and so you don’t really get re-infected. But, it may at times cause serious complications like encephalitis and pneumonia.
Measles starts with cold-like symptoms that starts around 10 days after getting infected. This is followed by a rash about a couple of days later. In the majority of patients, the ailment lasts for about seven to nine days.
The initial Symptoms are:
After few days you may also experience the following symptoms:
Measles is highly contagious and spreads through coughing or sneezing. This is because the virus lives in the mucosae of nose and throat. The virus lives for about 2 hours in the atmosphere where an infected patient has sneezed or coughed.
If anyone else inhale the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then they can also get infected from the virus. Measles is contagious and 90% of the people who are close to an infected individual and not immune to the virus can get infected. Measles is a human infection and is not spread by any animal species.
Measles is a highly contagious illness and is caused by morbillivirus. The virus replicates in the nose or pharynx of the patient and spreads through coughing or sneezing by an infected person. This disease occurs among poorly nourished children and adults who have a nutritional deficiency of vitamin A. Women infected with measles while pregnant may also develop complications and may result in stillbirth or miscarriage or even preterm birth. People who develop measles once are usually immune for the rest of their lives.
Around 90% of susceptible individuals who come in contact with someone with the virus, develop the infection. The virus remains active on a surface for about 2 hours where an infected patient has sneezed or coughed. Measles remain active for at least 4 days before the typical rash appears and stay contagious for the next few days.
When the virus enters the system, replication of virus takes place in the lungs, throat and lymphatic system. The virus also multiplies in the eyes, central nervous system, urinary tract and blood vessels. The virus stays for about 1 to 3 weeks in the system after the initial infection.
The measles virus is able to live on the surface for several hours, causing the infected particles to remain in the air and as such any person within its vicinity may get infected. Sharing utensils like spoons, towels, brush etc. with an infected person increases the risk of infection. Studies showed that measles was the primary cause for death among children worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that most of the victims in its reports were children under the age of 5. The disease is found to mostly occur in unvaccinated children.
Some parents have a wrong notion that vaccination can lead to certain side effects in their children. It is not entirely true. Only in the rarest of cases the vaccine has been found to cause deafness, brain damage, coma, deafness and autistic characteristics.
Children who lack Vitamin A in their diet are at an increased risk of measles.
An experienced doctor would be able to tell the case by examining rashes on your skin and checking for characteristic symptoms of the disease such as whitish spots in and around the mouth, cough and sore throat. A blood test may be conducted for further affirmation. As such, there is no prescription medication to treat measles. The symptoms of the virus appear within two or three weeks. The doctor may prescribe medications and supplements to ease the symptoms and help your immune system.
Common Side Effects:
Uncommon Side Effects:
Rare Side Effects:
Measles in pregnancy: If you are not previously exposed or immunised and get pregnant, there is a risk of:
Measles in children: A child with measles can develop a bacterial infection and may have the following symptoms:
Some people suffer from severe complications like pneumonia & encephalitis and they may even die because of these complications. Out of these, pneumonia has been the causative factor for death in about 1 out of every 20 children. Also, measles causes encephalitis in about 1 out of 100 patients which further cause convulsions, deaf ear and intellectual disability.
Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE) is a rare ailment of the central nervous system that can occur due to measles infection of the brain. It occurs about 7 years after measles infected the person. Approximately five to ten cases per million are reported for Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis.
These are the precautions for measles that must be exercised:
Measles infection can be prevented by taking the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella). If the MMR vaccine is not appropriate, human normal immunoglobulin(HNIG) can be used.
Routine Vaccine-One dose is given when the child is 12 to 13 months old. A second dose is given when the child is 3 years old. Both adults and children can be vaccinated at anytime if they have not been fully vaccinated before. If you are not sure whether you have been vaccinated or not before, getting immunised again will do no harm.
A dose of the MMR vaccine can also be given to anyone over the age of 6 months if they are at risk of getting infected as in:
2. HUMAN NORMAL IMMUNOGLOBULIN(HNIG)
This is basically a mixture of antibodies that have the ability to give short-term but immediate protection from measles. It is recommended to:
3. Stop the spread of the virus:
This can be achieved by doing the following: