Home Health Measles Outbreak: Understanding Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment

Measles Outbreak: Understanding Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment

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Measles Outbreak: Understanding Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment

Measles, a highly contagious viral infection, poses a significant threat, especially among unvaccinated individuals. It can lead to mild to severe complications, and in some cases, even death. Understanding its transmission, symptoms, treatment, and prevention is crucial in combating this disease. Recent months have witnessed a significant surge in measles cases across several nations, including India, where multiple new cases are being reported daily.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 136,000 individuals, predominantly children, lost their lives to measles in 2022. 

Based on provisional data submitted to the World Health Organization (WHO) in early February 2024, India ranked fourth among countries experiencing measles outbreaks. Between July and December 2023, India reported 12,301 cases. During the same period, Yemen recorded the highest number of cases at 18,464, followed by Azerbaijan with 13,721 cases and Kazakhstan with 13,195 cases.

Dr Sonia Mittal, Director, Paediatrics, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh shares symptoms, preventive tips and treatment for measels. Here is all you need to know:

Measels Symptoms

Measles typically begins with an infection of the respiratory tract before spreading throughout the body. The virus is highly contagious and is primarily transmitted through the breath, cough, or sneeze of an infected individual. The disease’s contagious nature is heightened by the fact that patients remain infectious for an extended period, even up to 4 to 5 days after the appearance of a rash.

Symptoms of measles vary, but fever is a common early sign. The fever can be high, often reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and may last for 3 to 5 days. Other symptoms include cough, cold, red eyes, poor appetite, weakness, and lethargy. The characteristic measles rash typically appears 3 to 5 days after the onset of fever. The rash is reddish and usually begins on the face or neck before spreading downwards.

Preventive Measure To Follow for Measels

Prevention is key in combating measles. Vaccination has played a crucial role in reducing the incidence of measles worldwide. In India, a vaccination drive from 2017 to March 2023 vaccinated approximately 348 million children, resulting in a 62 percent reduction in measles infection rates. The vaccination schedule in India typically involves doses around 9 months, 15 months, and between 4 to 6 years of age. It is essential to adhere to these vaccination schedules to protect all children.

– Apart from vaccination, isolating infected individuals is crucial. 

– Parents should be vigilant and keep children home from school if they exhibit fever or any signs of illness. 

– Regular handwashing and avoiding contact with infected individuals can also help prevent the spread of measles.

Measels Treatment

There is no specific antiviral treatment for measles, so treatment is mainly symptomatic. Rest, plenty of fluids, and a healthy diet are essential to prevent dehydration and maintain energy levels. For high fever, paracetamol can be given, and in some cases, ibuprofen may be added. However, aspirin should be avoided, especially in cases where complications such as pneumonia, eye or ear infections, or encephalitis occur.

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