Any person with sudden onset of high temperature that is fever of more than 40 degree centigrade or 104 degree Fahrenheit, along with any of the following symptoms: runny or blocked nose, sneezing, watery eyes, swollen eyelids, sore, red eyes that may be sensitive to light, small greyish-white spots in the mouth, aches and pains, cough, loss of appetite, tiredness, irritability and a general lack of energy… if present can be suffering from Measles. A day or two before the measles rash appears, many people with measles develop small greyish-white spots in their mouth. Not everyone with measles has these spots, but if someone has them in addition to the other symptoms listed above or a rash, it’s highly likely they have the condition. The spots will usually last for a few days. The measles rash appears around 2 to 4 days after the initial symptoms and normally fades after about a week. The rash: is made up of small red-brown, flat or slightly raised spots that may join together into larger blotchy patches; usually first appears on the head or neck, before spreading outwards to the rest of the body; is slightly itchy for some people; can look similar to other childhood conditions, such as slapped cheek syndrome, roseola or rubella; is unlikely to be caused by measles if the person has been fully vaccinated (had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine) or had measles before.
According to WHO, in 2016 the global annual reported measles incidence was 19 cases per million persons, and annual estimated measles deaths was 89,780. Of the 1,34,200 measles death globally in 2016, the WHO South East Asia Region, comprising of 11 countries, accounted for around 54,500 deaths. Of this, around 49,200 occurred in India
Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a rubeola virus. The virus lives in the mucus of the nose and throat of an infected child or adult. The disease is contagious for 4 days before the rash appears, and it continues to be contagious for about 4 to 5 days after.
Whatever the status of symptoms, it is always necessary to consult qualified health care professional for management. Although there is no cure for measles, there are home care methods to make the situation more tolerable. These include the following: plenty of rest; sponge baths with lukewarm water may reduce discomfort due to fever; drinking plenty of fluids to help avoid dehydration; humidifier or vaporizer may ease the cough; Pain relievers and fever reducers.
Management of Measles at the health care facility consists of any or all of the listed points (ONE) presumptive diagnosis of Measles based on symptoms and supportive care; (TWO) For confirmed diagnosis a swab is used to take a sample of the saliva or a blood sample is taken. The serum and saliva are measured for measles-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM); (THREE) appropriate intensive care for serious signs of Measles like: shortness of breath; sharp chest pain that feels worse with breathing; coughing up blood; drowsiness; confusion; fits (convulsions).
The most effective way to prevent measles is through immunization. Because of widespread vaccination of children, both kinds of measles occur much less often than in the past. The vaccine is about 95% effective in preventing measles of either type. That means that a small number of people who get the vaccine may still be able to get measles. As with all other contagious illnesses, covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing and good hand-washing practices will help prevent the spread of the diseases. If affected with measles it is necessary not to be in contact with people, especially vulnerable people like children, pregnant women.Elimination of pathogen reservoir where the bacteria, viruses and parasites breed and multiply, educating people and health workers on early identification and faster management as we are trying through this video series will also probably help in the prevention of Measles.
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