Measles: What is Measles, Symptoms and Prevention
In 2011, 6.7 million children did not receive vaccination for measles in India. This could be the cause of the measles outbreak that lead to a registered number of 29,339 measles cases in India. But measles is not strictly restricted to children, adults too can develop measles. Here’s how you can recognise measles, spot the causes of measles and how to prevent it.
What is measles?
According to WHO, ‘Measles is a highly contagious viral disease, which affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.’ The virus infects the respiratory system, making it highly contagiouos.
What are the causes of measles?
Measles is caused by the virus paramyxovirus and it transferred by the cough, nasal fluid or saliva of an infected person. The virus cannot survive for too long outside the body. But the virus is highly contagious since it is airborne. Poor immunity and lack of vitamin A are risk factors for measles.
Signs and symptoms of measles
Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.
In malnourished children and people with reduced immunity, measles can cause serious complications, including blindness, encephalitis, severe diarrhoea, ear infection and pneumonia.
Measel Symptoms in adults - The time taken for symptoms to appear after someone first becomes infected, is about 10 days. The symptoms of measles start like a bad cold with a high temperature, cough, sore eyes and runny nose. A red, blotchy rash appears at the head and spreads to the body and limbs over 3 to 4 days.
Treatment for measles
There is no treatment for measles but the body has to fight it off. The doctor will provide supportive treatments like remedies to improve immunity and increase vitamin A. Measles takes two to three weeks to get cured.
Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunisation campaigns in countries with low routine coverage, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.
According to medicinechest, "Adults who are not vaccinated with MMR when a child can be given the MMR vaccine at any time. Even if there is uncertainty about a person’s history of measles, mumps or rubella infection or vaccination there are no ill effects from vaccination. A second dose can be given routinely at any time 1 to 3 months after the first dose."
*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
WHO and medicinechest