Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola. Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die. Other rash-causing diseases often confused with measles include roseola (roseola infantum) and rubella (German measles). Measles virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs. So far, there have already been at least 397 confirmed cases (as of June 6) of measles in the U.S. in 2014 (the most in 18 years).
Signs and Symptoms
Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. The symptoms of measles generally begin about 7-14 days after a person is infected, and include:
Measles Rash- Skin of a patient after 3 days of measles infection.
•Red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
•Feeling run down, achy (malaise)
•Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik’s spots)
A typical case of measles begins with mild to moderate fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and sore throat. Two or three days after symptoms begin, tiny white spots (Koplik’s spots) may appear inside the mouth. Three to five days after the start of symptoms, a red or reddish-brown rash appears. The rash usually begins on a person’s face at the hairline and spreads downward to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet. When the rash appears, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.
Complications: About 30% of measles cases develop one or more complications, including:
•Pneumonia, which is the complication that is most often the cause of death in young children.
•Ear infections occur in about 1 in 10 measles cases and permanent loss of hearing can result. Blindness with affects to the eyes
•Diarrhea is reported in about 8% of cases. So hydration is very important with anyone contacting measles
These complications are more common among children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 years old. Even in previously healthy children, measles can be a serious illness requiring hospitalization. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, and about 1 child in every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis. (This is an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, and can leave the child deaf or mentally retarded.) For every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die from it. Measles also can make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage, give birth prematurely, or have a low-birth-weight baby.
While measles is almost gone from the United States, it still kills an estimated 164,000 people each year around the world. Measles can also make a pregnant woman have a miscarriage or give birth prematurely.
Here is a chart of know or reported Historical cases of Measles from Jan to June 6, 2014:
Measles spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. It is so contagious that any child who is exposed to it and is not immune will probably get the disease.. Measles is highly contagious and can be spread to others from four days before to four days after the rash appears. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected with the measles virus.
The virus lives in the mucus in the nose and throat of the infected person. When that person sneezes or coughs, droplets spray into the air. The droplets can get into other people’s noses or throats when they breathe or put their fingers in their mouth or nose after touching an infected surface. The virus can live on infected surfaces for up to 2 hours and spreads so easily that people who are not immune will probably get it when they come close to someone who is infected.
Measles is a disease of humans; measles virus is not spread by any other animal species.
How can I protect myself against measles?
The best protection against measles for individuals and the community is through routine immunization with MMR vaccine. This is a combined vaccine that protects against measles, mumps and rubella. In almost all cases, people who received the MMR vaccine are protected against measles. However, in rare cases, people who get the vaccine can still become infected with the measles if exposed to the virus. Two doses of MMR vaccine provide full protection against measles to 99 out of every 100 persons vaccinated.
Vaccination Coverage- Measles can be prevented by the combination MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. In the decade before the measles vaccination program began, an estimated 3–4 million people in the United States were infected each year, of whom 400–500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and another 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis. Widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases in the United States compared with the pre-vaccine era, and in 2012, only 55 cases of measles were reported in the United States.MMR is one of the recommended childhood vaccines. Nearly all states require proof that a child has received MMR before starting school.
Who should get MMR vaccinations:
Children should get two doses (shots) of MMR at each of the following ages:
•12 to 15 months
•4 to 6 years
Your health care provider may recommend that your child receive a vaccine that combines MMR with the chickenpox (VAR) vaccine. Your health care provider can tell you if this vaccine is right for your child.
Adults 18 years old or who were born after 1956 should get at least one dose (shot) of the MMR vaccine if:
•They have never received an MMR shot
•They are not sure whether or when they received an MMR shot
•They have never had any of the three diseases
Adults born during or before 1956 are protected because they likely had the actual diseases during childhood. Women who can become pregnant and who have not had the MMR vaccine in the past should have a blood test to see if they are protected (immune). If they are not immune, they should receive the MMR vaccine. Women should not receive this vaccine if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant within the next 4 weeks. The vaccine may harm the baby.
WHO SHOULD NOT GET THIS VACCINE
•Persons who received a dose of MMR and developed an allergy from it.
•Persons who are severely allergic to the antibiotic neomycin (MMR contains a tiny amount of neomycin).
•Women who are pregnant (women should not become pregnant within 1 month of receiving MMR).
•Persons with a weakened immune system due to certain cancers and their treatment, HIV, steroid medicines, or other medicines that suppress the immune system.
•Persons who are ill with something more severe than a cold or have a fever should reschedule their vaccination until after they are recovered.
Persons should check with their health care provider about the proper time to get MMR if they have:
•Received blood or platelet transfusions
•Received other blood products (including gamma globulin)
•Low platelet counts
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Most persons who get MMR have no problems from it. Others may have mild problems such as soreness and redness where the shot was given or a low fever. More severe problems from MMR are rare. If a rash or swelling of the cheek or neck glands develops without other symptoms, no treatment is needed. The symptoms should go away within several days.
Severe side effects may include:
•Allergic reaction (rare)
•Long-term seizure, brain damage, or deafness (so rare that it is unlikely the vaccine is the cause)
There is no proof that the MMR vaccine is linked to the development of autism. No vaccine works all of the time. It is still possible, though unlikely, to get measles, mumps, or rubella even after receiving all doses (shots) of MMR.
CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IF:
•You are not sure if a person should get MMR
•Mild or serious symptoms develop after getting the vaccine
•You have questions or concerns about the vaccine
Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau