Dr Hadiqa Zia
Measles is an endemic disease, meaning it has been continually present in a community, and many people develop resistance. In populations not exposed to measles, exposure to the new disease can be devastating.
Measles, or rubeola, is a viral infection of the respiratory system. It is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family and it is normally passed through direct contact and through the air. The virus infects the respiratory tract, then spreads throughout the body. Measles is a human disease and is not known to occur in animals.
Measles is a very contagious disease that can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva. An infected person can release the infection into the air when they cough or sneeze. The measles virus can live on surfaces for several hours. As the infected particles enter the air and settle on surfaces, anyone within close proximity can become infected. Drinking from an infected person’s glass, or sharing eating utensils with an infected person, increases your risk of infection. Contact a doctor immediately if you suspect you have measles.If you have not received a measles vaccine and you come into contact with an infected person, visit your doctor to receive a measles vaccine within 72 hours of contact to prevent infection. You can also prevent an infection with a dose of immunoglobulin taken within six days of contact with an infected person.
The most common symptoms include:
cough,fever ,red eyes ,light sensitivity ,muscle aches ,runny nose, sore throat,white spots inside the mouth
Measles primarily occurs in unvaccinated children. Some parents choose not to vaccinate their children for fear that vaccines will have adverse effects on their children. Most children and adults who receive a measles vaccine do not experience side effects. But in rare cases, the vaccine has been linked to seizures, deafness, brain damage, and coma. Some parents believe that the measles vaccine can cause autism in children. However, numerous studies have proven that there is no link between autism and immunizations. A vitamin A deficiency is also a risk factor for measles. Children with too little vitamin A in their diets have a higher risk of catching the virus.
It is diagnosed by different parameters. As your health professional can confirm measles by examining your skin rash and checking for symptoms that are characteristic of the disease, such as white spots in the mouth, fever, cough, and sore throat. If they are unable to confirm a diagnosis based on observation, your doctor may order a blood test to check for the measles virus.
There is no specified treatment available but different steps must be followed to cure this disease.
There is no prescription medication to treat measles. The virus and symptoms typically disappear within two to three weeks. However, your doctor may recommend, acetaminophen to relieve fever and muscle aches, rest to help boost your immune system, plenty of fluids (six to eight glasses of water a day), a humidifier to ease a cough and sore throat and vitamin A supplements
There are a number of complications associated with measles which includes the following.
1) It is important to receive a measles vaccine because measles can lead to life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).
Ear infection ,bronchitis ,miscarriage or preterm labor ,decrease in blood platelets, blindness and severe diarrhea
How to prevent measles
Immunizations can help prevent a measles outbreak. The MMR vaccine is a three-in-one vaccination that can protect you and your children from the measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles). Children can receive their first MMR vaccination at 12 months, or sooner if traveling internationally, and their second dose between the ages of 4 and 6. Adults who have never received an immunization can request the vaccine from their doctor.If you or a family member contracts the measles virus, limit interaction with others. This includes staying home from school or work and avoiding social activities.
“Measles and TB evolved from diseases of our cattle, influenza from a disease of pigs, and smallpox possibly from a disease of camels. The Americas had very few native domesticated animal species from which humans could acquire such diseases.”