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Measles, also known as Rubeola is a highly contagious, and serious disease caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family. This virus infects the respiratory tract and can spread throughout the body. Despite reliable and efficient vaccination being available, it continues to be a major cause of death on a global scale.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), in 2018, more than 140,000 people died- mostly children under the age of 5 years. Currently, Mumbai is facing a Measles-outbreak. The corporation suspects seven deaths due to the virus infection and 164 cases in the city.

Let’s take a look at the symptoms and prevention of measles –

SYMPTOMS

Watch out for these symptoms-

  • High fever begins about 10 to 12 days after being exposed to the virus. The fever lasts for four to seven days
  • Runny nose and cough
  • Red and watery eyes
  • White spots inside the mouth during the initial stage
  • Check for rashes which can erupt on the face and upper neck
  • Complications associated with the disease are the major reasons for measles-related deaths. Children under the age of five or people over the age of 50 are more likely to experience serious issues.

Blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain enlargement), severe diarrhoea and dehydration, ear infections, or severe respiratory infections like pneumonia are among the most dangerous side effects. The infection can severely affect those children who are not well-nourished and have Vitamin A deficiency or those with HIV/AIDS and other immunity-compromising diseases.

TREATMENT AND PREVENTION

As per WHO, there’s no special antiviral treatment. The complications can be reduced in patients by ensuring proper nutrition, adequate liquid consumption and using oral rehydration solution. Antibiotics are given to patients to treat eye and ear infections. Children diagnosed with measles should be given Vitamin A supplements to prevent eye damage and blindness.

For prevention, there is a measles vaccination for children. Two doses of the vaccine are recommended for immunity and to prevent further outbreaks.

Apart from this, practice good hygiene which includes-

  • Proper handwashing using a soap
  • Do not share personal items like toothbrushes, handkerchiefs, and utensils with people who might be ill
  • Avoid contact with sick people