All you Need to Know about Measles
What is Measles?
Measles is an extremely contagious disease caused by a virus infecting the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs.
Who is at Risk of Measles?
Anyone who is not protected against measles can potentially be infected by the virus and develop the disease.
The disease mostly affects children especially if
- Below 5 years
- Have a weakened immune system
Adolescents and adults are also at risk
What are the Symptoms of Measles?
Initial symptoms are usually observed 10-12 days after exposure. They include:
- High fever
- Cold like symptoms
- Red and watery eyes
- Tiny grayish-white spots in the mouth and throat
A few days after these symptoms,a red-brown spotty rash may also develop starting on the face and neck and spreading to the hands and feet.
How do you Get Measles?
The virus is extremely infectious and for susceptible people 9 out of 10 who are in contact with an infected person will end up getting the disease.
The disease is spread
- When an infected person coughs and sneezes
- Through close personal contact
- Through direct contact with nasal or throat fluids
The virus can survive in the air, or on infected surfaces for up to two hours.
People are infectious for 4 days before/after the outbreak of the rash.
What is the Impact of Measles?
Every year, 20 million people are affected worldwide. In 2012, measles caused 122,000 deaths. That is about 14 deaths every hour.
Measles can be associated with serious complications among them;
- Encephalitis (1 case out of 1000)
- Severe diarrhoea and related dehydration
- Ear infection Pneumonia
How can you Protect Against Measles?
As recommended by World Health Organization(WHO), Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent measles in children and adults. Between 2000 and 2012,vaccination programmes were estimated to have resulted in a worldwide reduction in cases of more than 99%
The spread of disease can also be avoided by;
- Infected people remaining away form school and work
- Hand washing
- Covering mouth when sneezing or coughing
Although deaths are rare in developed countries, it remains a leading cause of childhood deaths worldwide.
Ensure that your child is vaccinated to talk to your doctor about protecting your family against measles.
Until we see each other again,