Symptom, Treatment And Causes
What is Measles?
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:
- Runny or blocked nose
- Watery eyes
- Puffy eyelids
- Red and sore eyes that are sensitive to light
- High grade fever
- Small greyish-white spots in the mouth
- Aches and pains
- Loss of appetite
- Tiredness, irritability and generalised malaise
After few days you may also experience the following symptoms:
- Spots in the mouth
- Measles rash
Mode of transmission
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.
How is measles spread?
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.
Incubation period for measles?
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.
2. HUMAN NORMAL IMMUNOGLOBULIN(HNIG)
Side effects of measles
Common Side Effects:
- diarrhea and vomiting leading to dehydration
- middle ear infection (otitis media) which can cause earache
- bronchitis, croup and pneumonia
- febrile seizures(fits caused by fever)
Uncommon Side Effects:
- squint if the virus affects the muscles and nerves of the eyes
- meningitis and encephalitis
Rare Side Effects:
- optic neuritis(infection of the optic nerve) leading to vision loss
- heart and nervous system problems
- subacute sclerosing panencephalitis(SSPE),a fatal brain complication which occurs years after the measles infection(occurs in 1 in 25,000 cases)
How to prevent measles?
These are the preventions for measles that must be exercised:
Stop the spread of the virus:
This can be achieved by doing the following:
- Stop attending school or work if you are exposed to the virus
- Avoid getting in contact with patients who have this infection