Measles is one of the most infectious viral diseases known to man and one of the most deadly childhood illnesses.
Before a vaccine for measles was created, this disease killed an estimated number of 2.6 million people every year, most of them children. Even today, measles remains a deadly threat, with 158,000 people dying from this disease in 2011.
Measles is especially contagious for children, especially those attending pre-school and kindergarten. In children, this disease can cause many complications, some of which could be life-threatening:
|Common complications||Potentially life-threatening complications|
|Vomiting||Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)|
|Eye infection (conjunctivitis)||Infection of the airways (bronchitis)|
|Middle ear infection (otitis media)||Lung infection (pneumonia)|
|Inflammation of the voice box (laryngitis)||Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)|
|Fits caused by fever (febrile seizures)||Brain damage|
Know The Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of measles usually appear 7-14 days after coming into contact with an infected person.
They typically include:
- Dry cough
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Sensitivity to light;
- Tiny white spots with bluish-white centres found inside the mouth
- A red, blotchy rash that begins on the face which can spread across the body
How Measles Spreads
Measles virus can spread directly through droplets created by the coughing and sneezing of an infected person as well as through close personal contact with the infected person.
It can also spread indirectly when a non-infected person touches an object or surface containing droplets with the virus, and subsequently transfers the virus into his body by touching his nose or mouth. The measles virus can survive in an indoor environment for up to 2 hours.