- Measles can cause acute illness and rashes
- Measles was once quite common but can be prevented with vaccines
- Measles is caused by rubeola virus
Measles is an infectious disease which is caused by rubeola virus. Measles is a childhood infection which can be effectively prevented by vaccines. Measles can be serious, and even fatal for children. Signs and symptoms of measles begin to appear around 10 to 14 days on being exposed to the virus. Measles can cause runny nose, sore throat, inflamed eyes, fever, dry cough, tiny white spots on a red background found on the inner line of the cheek and skin rashes.
Measles was once quite common but can be prevented with vaccine. But if measles enter an area where people have never been exposed to the virus, the results can be quite devastating. According to the World Health Organisation, around 2.6 million people who have not had measles vaccines, die suffering from the condition every year.
Causes of measles
Measles is caused by a virus which replicates in the nose and throat of an infected child or an adult. Other people can catch measles when a person infected with measles sneezes, coughs or talks near them. Infected droplets spray into the area and that is how other people get infected with the virus.
Infected droplets can also land on surfaces and remain active and contagious for several hours. An uninfected person can contact the virus by putting finger in mouth or nose or rubbing eyes after touching the infected surface.
Also read: Typhoid Fever: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
How does measles progress?
Measles infections occurs in a series of sequential stages over a period of two or three weeks.
1. For the first 10 to 14 days, the infection and incubation of the disease occurs. There are no symptoms of measles during this stage.
2. Signs and symptoms that are not specific to measles occur after the first stage. Measles begin with mild to moderate fever along with runny nose, cough, sore throat and inflamed eyes. These symptoms are relatively mild and may last for two to three days.
3. The above stage is followed by a stage of acute illness and rashes. Measles at this stage can cause small red spots, some of which can even be slightly raised. At this stage, spots and bumps appear on the skin in tight clusters. The face breaks out first, after which, the rashes begin to spread down the arms and trunk, then to the thighs, lower legs and feet thereafter.
4. After the above stage, fever in case of measles rises to as high as 104 to 105.8 F according to MayoClinic.
Measles is most likely to be caught by others in the starting 4 days before the rash appears, and the last 4 days when the rash has been present.
Risk factors and complications of measles
A person who has not been vaccinated for measles and being deficient in Vitamin A can make you have more severe symptoms and complications of measles.
Some of the common complications of measles include ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia and pregnancy problems. Pregnant women need to take special care for avoiding measles as it can increase risks of preterm labour, maternal death and low birth weight.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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