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Measles
 
 

On this page you'll get answers to questions concerning measles. Entmags.org, your leading ENT information site.

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Measles
What are Measles?

Although measles are more prevalent in Africa, with about 38 million suffering and dying from it each year, measles are also problematic to infants worldwide.

When defined, measles are a virally transmitted infectious disease commonly prevalent in children because of the immunity passed on from their mothers. Also known as Rubeola or Rubella, measles are generally characterized by sneezing, coryza (a runny nose), conjunctivitis, fever, and upper respiratory infections.

Measles are a very serious disease - the leading childhood killer worldwide. Immediate treatment is essential if any symptom of measles show up. If you're concerned about your child's nasal congestion, and suspect s/he has measles, take him/her to the doctor as soon as possible. Remember, measles kills if left untreated for more than 3 days.

What causes Measles?

Measles are a viral transmitted infection, meaning – it is caused by a virus. Most cases of measles are said to be caused by a virus of the genus Morbillivirusa. The Morbillivirusa virus is highly infectious. Any contact with nasal or throat secretions of an infected person, may probably cause an infection.

If inhaled, droplets that waft through the atmosphere from sneezes and coughs of an infected person cause most of the measles cases. This virus usually spreads through airborne droplets of nasal secretions. Infants are very prone to measles infection, therefore just about eight (8) months after birth they're usually vaccinated to prevent them from catching measles.

What are symptoms of Measles?

Symptoms of measles are most similar to those of upper respiratory infections. You need to see your doctor for proper diagnosis and examination of your symptoms. Most cases of measles are characterized by some or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Brassy coughs
  • Fever
  • Blotchy rash on the face and upper neck
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Small spots inside the mouth
  • General weakness
  • A sore throat
  • A runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Dehydration
  • Sneezing
  • General malaise
  • Loss of appetite

Symptoms of measles are usually evident 10 – 13 days after the infection, although in some cases they may appear earlier or later than 10 – 13 days. If you or your children experience any of the above mentioned symptoms, rush to your otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist). If untreated, measles may cause serious complications to your health.

How serious are Measles?

Measles are very serious and may cause serious complications or even death. In most cases where measles were not treated, sufferers also experienced excruciating pains of ear infections and pneumonia.

Nearly 480, 000 children die of measles worldwide each year. Although half of this figure is African children, developed countries are also caught up in the same net because they ignore the reality of measles. In the U.S., for instance, 2 deaths in every 1, 000 cases of measles are reported.

In about 60% of measles - related death cases, pneumonia is reported to be among main contributing causes of deaths.

If measles become too severe, sufferers may have difficulty breathing and swallowing, causing suffocation and imbalanced nutrients intake. This may worsen your condition, even weakening your body and muscles.

What are the complications?

If untreated, measles are painful and may cause serious complications and discomfort to your health. In general, measles may cause the following complications:

  • Death
  • Pneumonia
  • Croup
  • Eye damage
  • Dehydration
  • Bronchitis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Myocarditis
  • Hepatitis
  • Encephalitis

To avoid any complications, see your doctor immediately.

Are Measles contagious?

Yes. Measles are a highly contagious disease and can spread from one person to another, especially through contact with an infected person's nasal or throat secretions.

Infected people may be contagious even before a rash appears and other symptoms show up, and may continue being contagious until all symptoms have completely vanished. Direct or close contact with infected people must be avoided at all cost.

Who's likely to get Measles?

Measles is usually considered a child's infection because it is more prevalent in children. However, adults may also get measles if they have contact with nasal or throat secretions of an infected person.

Furthermore, school going children who had not been vaccinated or who are un-immunized are also more prone to measles than those who had been vaccinated.

People residing in developing countries that are recovering from war or natural disasters are often exposed to pathogens that may disturb their general health, leaving them susceptible to any infection, especially upper respiratory ones.

Another contributing factor to the prevalence of measles in developing countries includes high levels of malnutrition and poor access to health care services.

Travelers leaving the U.S. must be vaccinated to avoid exposure to measles, especially those traveling to Africa and other European and Asian countries. If not vaccinated, travelers leaving the U.S. may become more susceptible to measles and other upper respiratory infections while abroad.

 

 
 
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