Measles outbreak

Measles Is contagious And Making a Come Back In the World

There are many cases of Measles reported in children in India recently. Measles can cause serious health issues in children especially of the age younger than five years. Sometimes parents think that measles is just fever with rash and recovery happens in few days. What they don’t know is, if unattended measles can cause serious complications in kids.

What is measles? Measles is an acute viral respiratory illness characterized by a prodrome of fever (as high as 105°F) and malaise and three C symptoms – cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis associated with skin rash. It is caused by a virus that lives in nose and throat.

According to health reports and CDC, one in five kids who get measles can be hospitalized because of complications. One out of 1000 people who get infected with measles could develop brain swelling and leading to brain damage and one out of three persons infected with this condition can die.

Measles is eliminated from many countries; however, it is still appearing in many parts of the world like in India it appeared recently. Unvaccinated international travelers can carry measles and spread in other countries. Those who are not vaccinated for measles are at high risk of contaminated and especially kids of younger age <5

What are symptoms of measles?

  • Cough
  • High fever
  • Running nose
  • Sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis with watery eyes
  • Rashes in the body.
  • Fever can be as high as 105F

It begins with moderate fever, dry cough, runny nose and inflamed red eyes. Rash appears as red spots and sometimes slightly raised on skin. Slowly rash spreads to entire body and breaks out in face first. It lasts about seven to ten days.

Is measles contagious?

Answer is Yes, it is contagious. It can spread through infected person by cough and sneeze. In fact, it is highly contagious. If the child is in the same room where a person with measles has been for just couple of hours, chances of kids getting measles infection is high. As per health experts, a person can spread measles even before the prominent symptoms like four days before rashes develop and four days after rashes appear in the body.

Which vaccine protects child?

Two doses of Measles-mumps-rubella vaccine -MMR vaccine provides long lasting protection to child from all strains of measles viral infection. Measles vaccine is not recommended for infants younger than 6 months.

  • The first dose at 12 month through 15 months
  • Second dose at age of 4 though 6 years.

For those families who are traveling internationally with infants and younger kids plan on getting vaccine well before your travel date.

  • If baby is 6 to 11 month old, baby should get first dose of MMR vaccine before the travel
  • If the baby is 12 month or older, then two doses of MMR vaccine before traveling separated by 28 days is needed to prevent the infection.
  • MMRV – Measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine protects against four types of diseases also available for children 12 month and above.

Apart from India, following countries are reporting measles – Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Philippines, Nepal and Middle eastern countries, Africa and Asia. Before planning on your travel, look for travel notice by visiting the country website.

Remember: Taking or giving vitamin supplements (like Vitamin A) is not preventing measles.

Call your pediatrician, your local health department, or locate hospitals or clinic near you to schedule an appointment for a MMR vaccine for your child or for yourself if you have not had MMR vaccine before.

Further reading please visit: (Measles outbreak in  Mumbai, Maharashtra) Image credit: Photos of Measles and People with Measles | CDC

Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: December 5, 2022

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