Measles Disease - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Measles Disease - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Often Read:

Measles is one of the most contagious infectious diseases and remains a leading cause of death. Particularly among young children. especially in areas with low rates of vaccination.

It is a round virus that has an inner core of genetic material which is surrounded by an outer envelope the envelope has several types of protein that helps it attach and enter into  cells in the past measles used to be a very common childhood infection and caused millions of deaths around the world.

Measles - Causes , Symptoms


Called rubeola, similar sounding names but very different viruses. Regular measles is caused by the measles virus.

The complications include ear infections pneumonia diarrhea or inflammation of the brain. A very rare condition called subacute sclerosing pan encephalitis can affect the brain many years after a measles infection.

Measles Disease - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Measles is one of the most infectious of all the diseases and it is easily spread from person to person.

When a person with measles coughs or sneezes they can spread the virus to others. People can catch it either by breathing in the virus or touching something that has been can dominated with the virus.

The virus can also hang around in the air for a while and is so infectious that you can catch the virus by being in the same room as someone with the measles.

The reason why this guy's so contagious is that it's airborne and spreads via tiny liquid particles that she had flung into the air 

when someone sneezes or coughs and can live for up to two hours in that airspace or nearby surfaces if someone breathes in that air or touches a surface and then touches their eyes their nose or their mouth they can become infected.

Measles is so contagious that if one person has it 90% of nearby non-immune people will also become infected.

Only humans get measles and it is not known to be carried in animals so what happens when someone gets infected with measles.

After about 10 days people start to get symptoms these include a high fever runny nose a cough red and  watery eyes and sometimes small white spots inside the cheek called complex spots.

A few days after the initial symptoms a rash develops. This usually starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body. the rash can last about five days and then fade away.

It's just a fever and a rash right unfortunately up to a third of people with measles can develop complications these can sometimes be quite severe they are more common in ...,

..., those who are older or very young pregnant women those who are immune suppressed or those who are malnourished.

In general infected people are most contagious starting from the final day of the incubation period through the prodromal and example phase which roughly works out to be four days before to four days after the onset of the rash.

Measles Disease - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

If someone has measles they should avoid contact with others to reduce the chance of spreading the infection this means avoiding work school and public areas until the infectious period has passed.

Measles: Treatments and Prevention


Measles can be diagnosed from a blood test a urine test or a throat swab. In terms of treatment there is no specific antiviral medication for measles.

The treatment is mainly supportive and includes making sure that people have good nutrition and are well hydrated.

Now the good news is that once all this is over and someone's recovered from measles they have lifelong immunity.

Which can happen  seven to ten  years later, and this is thought to be caused by persistent measles virus infection.

Possibly due to an abnormal immune response or a mutated strain of the measles virus which leads a chronic inflammation of the entire brain.

Since measles affects various organs like the lungs the intestine in the brain it can lead to complications like pneumonia diarrhea and non rare occassions encephalitis all of which can lead to death.

In addition measles can suppress the immune system for  up to six weeks. For  people who are immunocompromised  for example people with HIV or AIDS they're immune mediated responses are impaired.

That being said if they get measles they might not develop some symptoms that are result of the immune system responding to the measles virus.

This can  contribute to bacterial super infections like otitis media and bacterial pneumonia. All of these complications are worst among young infants who typically have the highest rates of mortality.

During a measles break another severe and often fatal complication for children under two years old is the development of subacute sclerosing pan encephalitis.

Measles Disease - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Diagnosis of measles is usually done via serology looking for measles antibodies in the blood serum. 

The disease is usually most likely to happen with unvaccinated individuals that said the measles vaccine is a live attenuated immunization essentially meaning it's been weakened.

It's given between 12 and 15 months of age and again between four and  six years of age and it has an impressive 95 percent vaccine efficacy rate.

Which means that out of a hundred cases of measles among unvaccinated people. ninety-five would have been prevented by the vaccine.

In addition to the vaccine another source of protection for young infants is their mother's anti measles antibody or immunoglobulin which the fetus gets trans pleasantly and lasts until about nine months of age.

When measles does develop there isn't a specific antiviral treatment. Instead the medications are generally aimed at treating super infections maintaining good hydration with adequate fluids and pain relief.

Some groups are also given vitamin A like young children in the severely malnourished which act as an immuno modulator that boosts the antibody responses to measles and decreases the risk of serious complications.

Vitamin A supplements have shown to reduce the complications of measles. They are given to children in developing countries  where vitamin A deficiency is common.

The best way to protect against measles is to get vaccinated measles vaccine is usually available in combination with other vaccines like mumps and rubeola.

The vaccine is safe and efficient and is routinely included in childhood vaccination programs. Two doses of the vaccine are needed to be fully protected against measles.

The vaccine is not suitable for those who are immune suppressed or are pregnant. Sometimes susceptible people who are exposed to measles but cannot have the vaccine are given an injection  of measles antibodies.

However unlike the vaccine it provides only temporary protection against measles.

Measles Disease - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Finally in outbreak settings  both the measles vaccine and measles immunoglobulin can be given to household contacts and those at high risk like pregnant women and young infants to help prevent others from getting sick.

Alright so quick review of measles is an airborne pathogen that's highly contagious and causes cough conjunctivitis and coryza as well as complications like pneumonia and encephalitis and can be prevented through vaccination.
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