Measles

March 2017


Definition


Measles is a highly contagious disease of viral origin. The virus belongs to the paramyxovirus family and is transmitted through the air or by coughing, sneezing or direct contact with infected people. Usually mild, it affects children mostly between the ages of 3 and 7. However, it may sometimes be responsible for complications, especially when contracted by an adult. After contact with the virus, ten days elapse before the onset of symptoms. The development of compulsory vaccination has greatly reduced the incidence of this disease.

Symptoms


Symptoms of measles include:
  • a high fever;
  • a runny nose;
  • Red-eyes, which sometimes drip;
  • Coughing;
  • a rash on the body with numerous small red spots, separated by portions of normal skin, usually starting in the face and spreading down the trunk and limbs;
  • a whitehead may be present on the inner part of the cheeks.

Among the complications, which have become rare, are lung disease, meningitis by inflammation of the membranes protecting the brain and causing neurological symptoms, heart attacks, etc.

Diagnosis


The measles diagnosis is clinical and based on the observation of symptoms, which are usually fairly typical. In case of doubt, a blood test will be performed to detect specific antibodies.

Treatment


The treatment of measles is a treatment of the symptoms of the disease. To do this, the doctor prescribes medicines that lower fever and disinfect the respiratory tract and eyes, in the case of conjunctivitis. A long period of rest must be observed and a break from school is required.

Prevention


A preventive vaccine exists for measles. It is highly recommended, in association with vaccines for mumps and rubella, collectively known as the MMR vaccine. A first injection between the age of 9 and 12 months followed by a second at the age of 2 is sufficient to immunize the child.

Related

Original article published by . Translated by Jeff.
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