Measles (rubeola)

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. The disease is accompanied by fever and rash and can be very annoying. It is a childhood disease that can also occur in adults. What exactly does measles mean? Can you do anything about this disease and how long do you suffer from the symptoms?

The measles

Measles is a contagious viral disease caused by the measles virus and is spread through the air, for example through coughing or sneezing. The disease is highly contagious. You can effectively prevent measles by taking a vaccination. The MMR Vaccine protects against Mumps, Measles and Rubella. This vaccination is used in children aged 14 months and 9 years. When using this vaccination you are almost completely protected against Measles. Once you have had measles, this disease will never come back.

Symptoms of measles

The first symptoms of measles will occur one or two weeks after infection. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, tickly cough, croup, diarrhea and a dry throat. Febrile convulsions can also occur, but they are almost never serious. After three or four days, white spots appear on the inside of the cheek. At that time, the child may get a headache and have a fever of 37.7 to 38.9 degrees. The lymph nodes may be swollen and the child may also be photophobic. Round or oval spots then appear behind the ears. Sometimes these spots merge into coarse spots. The spots fade around the sixth day and the symptoms usually disappear after ten days.

Treatment for measles

The fever that comes can best be controlled with bed rest, drinking and paracetamol. However, please note that children under the age of twelve should never be given aspirin, as there is a link between aspirin and Reye’s syndrome. If there are bacterial infections, the doctor may opt for antibiotics. If children are bothered by light, it is best to darken their room.

Complications of measles

Various complications can also occur with measles. This is how you can get respiratory, ear and conjunctivitis. You may also suffer from diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Very occasionally pneumonia occurs. Usually this is not a cause for concern, but bacterial pneumonia is much more serious and should be addressed right away with a good antibiotic.
1 in 1000 children develops life-threatening encephalitis. The child then suffers from severe headaches and is afraid of bright light. The child may also sometimes lose consciousness. If this condition occurs, emergency medical attention should be provided.
Women who are pregnant and have never had measles – or have not had a vaccination – should avoid all contact with infected children. The fruit can die if a pregnant woman is infected with the measles virus. Are they still eligible if a woman has measles? Then it is advisable to go to the doctor immediately.

Measles worldwide

In 2006, more than 242,000 children worldwide survived from Measles. The number of deceased victims is the highest in developing countries. Yet this was a decrease of more than 68%. In Africa there was even a decline of 91%.

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