Measles – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Measles is a viral infection characterized by the appearance of rashes all over the body. Measles transmission occurs through contact with infected mucus, through saliva and droplet infection from coughing and sneezing. Other name for this disease morbilli.

Measles transmission starts from coughing or sneezing from an infected person that can make the virus fly through the air. The virus can live on the surface for several hours. In fact, if you drink from a glass or share food equipment with an infected person you can get measles.

Causes of Measles

Measles is caused by a virus that is contagious between humans and a lack of vitamin intake, the following explanation:

1. Viruses

Measles is a disease caused by a type of paramyxovirus virus that is transmitted through the respiratory tract, namely from the nose, throat, and mouth of someone infected with the virus. Droplets of fluid from this breathing gush out when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Among people who are not immunized who are exposed to the virus, more than 90% will contract the disease.

2. Lack of vitamin A

Meanwhile, vitamin A deficiency is also a risk factor for the emergence of this disease. Children who consume too little vitamin A may have a higher risk of contracting the Rubeola virus. The disease is contagious for 4 days before the rash appears, and continues to spread about 4 to 5 days afterwards.

This disease is different from rubella or German measles. Its immunity is obtained after vaccination, active infection and passive immunity in a baby born to an immune mother (lasting for 1 year). People who are susceptible to this disease are:

  • Babies older than 1 year
  • Infants who are not immunized
  • Teenagers and young adults who have not yet received a second immunization.

Measles Symptoms

Symptoms generally appear within 14 days of exposure to the virus. This disease has a fairly typical clinical picture.

Measles symptoms that usually occur first, include:

  • Eyes are red, runny and sensitive to light
  • Cough
  • Cold
  • High fever
  • Muscleache
  • Sore throat
  • White spots in the mouth

The incubation period for measles, which is the time needed since exposure to the virus and the symptoms of measles that appear is around 10-14 days. This disease begins with symptoms of high fever which can reach 40 degrees Celsius. Fever is followed by conjunctivitis or inflammation in both eye conjunctiva which is characterized by both red, watery and light sensitive eyes.

In addition, both eyelids can also look slightly swollen. Then the symptoms will appear coughing, runny nose, the body feels weak and not powered accompanied by reduced appetite.

About 2-3 days after that, Koplik spot will appear, which is the appearance of small bluish-white colored spots on the inner buccal mucosa of the mouth. Koplik spot is a typical sign of measles which is very helpful for doctors in making this diagnosis.

For 3-5 days after the systemic symptoms, reddish rashes appear starting from the forehead in the hairline area, then spread to the face, neck, torso, and both arms and legs. Measles rash is morbiliform which is characterized by reddish spots with a slightly protruding surface, accompanied by mild itching and can spread throughout the body. The rash can heal and disappear by itself after about 5-7 days.

The diagnosis of measles is made through a thorough interview and physical examination, such as examining the inside of the mouth to identify Koplik spots and examining skin throughout the body.

Types of Measles

There are two types of measles that we need to recognize, the following are:

  • Measles: This is the standard form caused by the rubeola virus.
  • Rubella (German measles): This is caused by the rubella virus.

Rubella usually looks mild but is more at risk for an unborn baby than a small child if a woman contractes the virus when she is pregnant. This disease is not contagious or as severe as ordinary measles.

Morbilli or measles, mumps and rubella vaccines contain immunizations for both types.

Complications of Measles

Because this disease can cause complications, vaccination is important. Complications that can occur are pneumonia and encephalitis. Other related complications can include:

  • Ear infection
  • Bronchitis
  • Miscarriage or premature labor
  • Severe diarrhea

Meanwhile, groups of people who are at risk of complications are:

  • Infants under one year old
  • Children with poor health
  • People with chronic diseases
  • People with weakened immune systems

Measles diagnosis

The doctor will usually diagnose measles by looking at the signs and symptoms. Blood tests will confirm the presence of the rubeola virus.

Measles or morbilli is a disease that must be reported, in most countries. The doctor must notify the authorities about each suspected case. If the patient is a child, the doctor will notify the school. Children who have measles should not go to school at least 5 days after the rash appears.

Measles treatment

There is no specific measles drug to overcome this disease. Usually drugs are only given to treat fever and muscle aches that accompany infection from the measles virus. Viruses and measles symptoms usually disappear within 2-3 weeks. However, doctors can recommend the following morbilli or measles treatment:

  • Anti-pain and anti-fever medicine to relieve fever and muscle aches
  • Immune enhancing drugs to help boost the immune system, such as supplements that contain Zinc
  • Fluid intake (6–8 glasses of water a day)
  • Humidifier to relieve cough and sore throat
  • Vitamin A supplement
  • Bedrest or rest at home and isolation to prevent transmission of this disease to others.

Measles Prevention

People who already suffer from morbilli or measles are usually immune and may not recur again. While people who are not immune should consider getting the measles vaccine. Here are some prevention of morbilli or measles:

1. Vaccines

Measles prevention can be done by using immunization. MMR vaccine consists of 3 vaccines Mumps (mumps), Measles (measles), Rubella (German measles) which provides immunity against Mumps, Measles and Rubella diseases. MMR vaccine is given to infants aged 9 months, and booster vaccines are given back when children are aged 15-18 months and 6 years.

The morbilli vaccine is administered by subcutaneous injection usually in the upper arm region. Adults who have never received immunizations can request a vaccine from a doctor as a way to prevent measles.

2. Limit interaction with others

If you or a family member is affected by this virus, limit interaction with others and avoid social activities that make the measles patient have to exhausting and draining.

3. Rest

It is recommended to get enough rest, eat healthy food, and consult with a doctor so that the body’s condition improves soon. In general, measles only occurs once because our body can form antibodies that will protect us from getting this disease again in the future.

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