Measles Facts

Measles Facts: Measles (rubella) is an infectious and contagious disease, generally benign, caused by a virus of the Paramyxovirus family (genus Morbillivirus), which mainly affects children and is transmitted directly.

Measles (rubella) is manifested by fever, rhinitis and conjunctivitis, cough, presence of white spots on the cheek’s mucosa (Koplik sign characteristic measles) and red rash, first on the face, then the whole body.

This infectious disease is at the origin of disease (like chickenpox). But measles (rubella) is fatal in some countries where the population suffers from malnutrition. Thus, in some countries of tropical Africa, measles is one of the causes of mortality in children under 4 years.

It’s a measles fact that the virus incubation period lasts 10 days. This virus is only met at humans and is generally transmitted directly, through droplets of saliva or nasal secretions, the patient’s throat or conjunctivitis. They can transmit the virus through coughing or sneezing. There are rare cases of transmission of the virus indirectly via objects contaminated with secretions from the patient.

Another measles fact is that before the introduction of the measles vaccine, epidemics of measles occurred every 2 -3 years, especially in children of preschool and school. A woman who had measles or had been vaccinated against it, sexually transmitted infections antibodies to the child, which will have immunity in the first year of life, enough before reviving the vaccine.

In 3 to 5 days, fever decreases gradually and the patient feels an improvement in symptoms. Instead, the cough persists for 1 to 2 weeks. The rash becomes less visible, one gets brown spots, then skin becomes normal.

In general, at children with good health and nutrition, measles is not serious. It is a well known measles fact that frequent complications appear in the form of respiratory infections, which is manifested by rhinitis (inflammation of nasal passages). Other complications are: laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), pharyngitis, otitis (inflammation of the middle ear) or bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchi), due to bacterial super infections.

Complications due to bacterial super infections meet especially in immunocompromised patients who develop pneumonia. Reaching lung is sometimes accompanied by a bronchopneumonia or interstitial pneumonia, with severe prognosis.

Another complication that can occur is thrombocytopenic purpura (purpura is associated with a decrease in blood platelets, which occurs rapidly and is accompanied in many patients of a serious bleeding). Encephalitis occurs in 1 in 1000 -2000 cases, usually 2 -3 weeks after the rash and is manifested by fever, headache or coma.

In pregnant women, measles can cause miscarriage first trimester, or preterm birth. Generally, measles (rubella) during pregnancy is a risk of fetal malformation.

Symptoms of measles occur after 7 -14 days after infection and consist of high fever, inflammation of nasal passages (rhinitis), coughs, inflammation of the conjunctiva (membranes that push against the eye and the inside of the eyelids), associated with nasal and eye secretions. Sometimes, the child is sensitive to light.

After 2 -4 days, small, white spots appear inside the cheeks – Koplik’s sign, characteristic of the period of invasion of measles (rubella). These spots are similar to grains of sand white and are sometimes accompanied by inflammation of the lining of the pharynx and larynx, the bronchi and trachea.

Rash appears first on the side of the neck and behind the ear, in the form of red spots, with irregular size, they become fast relief. In the next 2 days, the rash spreads to the trunk, arms, hands, legs and feet, while the spots on the face disappear.

In some people with a severe form of measles (rubella), petechiae or ecchymosis may be observed, which correspond to small purple spots. Purpura is an abnormal effusion of blood to the skin and mucous membranes: they show red or blue spots. The rash is often accompanied by pruritus (itching). Symptoms regress in less than a week.

There is no specific treatment for measles (rubella), except symptomatic treatment (of fever, cough, rhinitis and conjunctivitis). Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil etc.) are prescribed to reduce fever, and in case of a bacterial super infection, is given an antibiotic. Quarantine is required for the entire duration of the disease.

Prescription vitamin A in African children, aged between 6 months and 2 years, suffering from malnutrition has decreased considerably the number of deaths in children with severe measles.

Measles vaccine is administered to children between 12 and 15 months, but can be done from 6 months during an epidemic of measles. Children and adults exposed to measles virus, which have not developed immunity to the disease, can be vaccinated within 3 days after exposure.

The vaccine is given to patients with generalized malignancy (leukemia, lymphoma), immuno diseases, those undergoing treatment with cortisone, alkylating agent or antimetabolite or perform radiation therapy. Vaccination should not be performed during pregnancy or in patients with Netra tuberculosis.

The vaccine is indicated for pregnant women and children less than one year. Instead, for these categories is preferred use of immunoglobulin (antibodies), administered within 2 days after exposure to virus.

Making the vaccine is given with the measles vaccination against rubella and mumps. It is the RRO vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella), administered at the age of 1 year.