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Measles FAQs

With relation to the previous post on MMR (mumps, Measles and rubella jab), I would like to share these helpful tips regarding measles which I have taken from BBC Health site. It is prepared by Dr Trisha Macnair and reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks in December 2005.

People at increased risk from measles

  • young babies under one year
  • People whose immune system is suppressed, for example by cancer or HIV
  • malnourished people
  • children with vitamin A deficiency
  • pregnant women – the infection may cause miscarriage or premature delivery

Symptoms take about ten to 14 days to develop after exposure to the virus (the incubation period). Early symptoms are like a cold, with runny nose, cough, conjunctivitis and fever. A couple of days later tiny white spots surrounded by red (Koplik spots) may develop on the inside mucosa of the cheeks. These are diagnostic of measles but difficult to see. The measles rash appears a day or two later, starting behind the ears or on the face and spreading down across the body. It’s a fine red rash which becomes blotchy and confluent, fades after three to four days and may peel off after a week or so. Abdominal symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Symptoms usually last about 14 days in all and it’s recommended that Children stay off school for five days after the start of the rash. The infection isn’t usually serious but there’s a Risk of potentially fatal complications, even for healthy children. These include otitis media, pneumonia, hepatitis, conjunctivitis and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain, this occurs in about one in 5,000 cases). Although complications involving the nervous system occur in less than 1 in 1,000 cases, the long-term effects can be devastating.Encephalitis or inflammation of the brain may develop a few days after the rash has appeared, and a quarter of those who get this complication will be left with brain damage and a devastating but extremely rare illness called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). This progressive illness may develop many years after the first bout of measles and is eventually fatal. Fortunately, it’s very rare, occuring in fewer than one in 100,000 cases.

Top tips

  • Don’t lose sight of the fact that measles can, and does, kill and do long-term harm. Vaccination prevents this risk.
  • Measles is a notifiable disease – if you think your child may have it, see your doctor at once. They can confirm the diagnosis with a simple saliva test and must then let the local health authority know.

  • Some children may possibly be at risk from vaccination – for example, a child who’s had febrile fits or existing nervous system problems. Talk to your doctor.
  • A vaccine for each infection may be given instead of the MMR vaccine in certain cases, for example, if your child has an allergy. But it’s now extremely difficult to get hold of the separate vaccines. Ask your doctor for more advice.
  • Read the full article from BBC website.

    Originally posted 2006-06-19 00:00:09.

    This post first appeared on Mom’s Daily, please read the originial post: here

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    Measles FAQs


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