Measles is also called rubeola. It is an acute, highIy infectious, fever producing disease particularly in children, caused by a virus. Rash Measles is a highly infectious disease which mainly affects children. Symptoms usually appear about ten days after the virus is contracted and include rash of pink spots which lasts about four days. Measles is a different disease from , German measles (rubella). It is spread by direct contact, by breathing infected air or droplets emitted by coughing or sneezing, or by touching infected towels or bedding.
SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS
Incubation (the time between when the disease gets into the body and when the signs begin to appear) takes about ten days, producing symptoms of coughing, high temperature, nasal discharge, and conjunctivitis (popularly called Apollo in Nigeria).
A rash of pink, slightly raised spots, starting behind the ears and spreading over the whole body, occurs about two to four days after initial symptoms appear. These are preceded by white spots (Koplik spots) inside the cheeks. The infectious period lasts from two to four days before the rash appears until about four days afterwards. Diagnosis may be confirmed by laboratory examination of saliva. There is no medical cure for Measles. The patient is isolated from others who are likely to be infected, until the patients antibodies eventually destroy the virus.
TREATMENT & COMPLICATIONS
Treatment usually involves bed rest and aspirin to reduce fever, cough syrup, skin lotions to alleviate itching, and plenty of fluids. Measles is most serious in young babies and adults. Complications occur in about 1 in 15 cases and include: inflammation of the brain, bronchitis, pneumonia, convulsions, and inflammation of the middle ear. Complications are common and severe in poorly nourished and chronically ill children. Inflammation of the brain occurs in about 1 in 5,000 cases and may cause permanent brain damage or death. Once someone suffers an attack of measles, he is not likely to have the disease again.
Measles is one of the worlds most common diseases and has been drastically curtailed, particularly in developed countries, by immunization introduced in the 1960s. Incidence is largely determined by the proportion of the population immunized.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited