The highly infectious and used to be the commonest childhood disease, known as rubeola Measles is a common disease caused by a virus of the genus Morbillivirus, the virus causing the disease was isolated, and licensed vaccines to prevent the disease became available in 1963. Most children are immunised against measles soon after birth as part of a three-part MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella). Vaccination rates have been high enough to make measles relatively uncommon now.
Highly contagious Measles is spread through respiration such as contact with fluids from an infected person’s nose and mouth, either directly or through aerosol transmission, Airborne precautions should be taken for all suspected cases of measles. 90% of people without immunity sharing a house with an infected person will catch it.
The incubation period usually lasts for 10-12 days (during which there are no symptoms). Infections occurs by droplets from the mouth or nose. It may start like a bad cold with lots of catarrh and a temperature. Infected people remain contagious from the appearance of the first symptoms until 3-5 days after the rash appears.
The classical symptoms of measles include a fever for at least 3 days duration, and the three C’s, cough, coryza (runny nose) and conjunctivitis (red eyes). a fever with sombody suffering from measles may reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. Tiny greyish white spots (Koplik’s spots) seen inside the mouth are pathognomic (diagnostic) for measles but are not often seen, even in real cases of measles because they are transient and may disappear within a day of arising.
The rash begins several days after the fever starts It starts on the head before spreading to cover most of the body. The measles rash also classically stains by changing colour to dark brown from red before disappearing later. The rash can be itchy. There is no specific treatment for uncomplicated measles. Patients with uncomplicated measles will recover with rest and supportive treatment.
Complications with measles are relatively common, ranging from relatively common and less serious diaorrhea, to bronchitis, ear infections, and croup; to pneumonia and encephalitis which affects the nervous system. Complications are usually more severe amongst infants and adults who catch the virus.