A general physician, Dr Mercy Luka, has warned that measles can cause infection of the lung, commonly popularly known as pneumonia.
Luka told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that measles or pneumonia was the most common cause of death in young children.
She said that unvaccinated children and those with low immunity or malnutrition tend to have measles or pneumonia at the early stages of the disease.
She said that it often delayed the healing of the disease with increased coughs, shortness of breath and high fever. According to her, measles is an airborne virus that is highly contagious but can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. The physician said that the disease could be contagious from four days and four days after the rash appears.
“When an infected person coughs, breathes, sneezes he transmit the disease in tiny droplets. “But it primarily affect those who are not vaccinated with MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) vaccine,’’ she said. She added that unvaccinated person who shares a house with a measles patient could hardly escape infection.
She said that the measles usually come with fever and develops a very high body temperature. Luka said that usually at the late stage of the infection, once the rash had already developed the fever subsides. (NAN)
Measles is a highly infectious illness caused by the rubeola virus. However, if measles enters an area where the people have never been exposed, the result can be devastating.
Vaccination prevents many cases of measles around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that 2.6 million people who have not had the vaccine die of measles every year.
Fast facts on measles
Here are some key points about measles. More detail is in the main article.
- Measles is a highly infectious condition
- Scientists have identified 21 strains of the measles virus
- Symptoms of measles can include watery eyes, sneezing, and a dry hacking cough
- There is no specific treatment for measles. Prevention is better than cure
- Pregnant women should not take the vaccine
What is measles?
Measles is a viral disease that can spread rapidly. Also known as rubeola or morbilli, measles is an endemic disease, meaning it is continually present in a community, and many people develop resistance. It is an unpleasant condition but one that normally passes without treatment within 7 to 10 days.
After a bout of measles, a person gains immunity for the rest of their life. They are very unlikely to contract measles a second time.
Measles is often noticed through a breakout of spots.
The symptoms of measles always include fever and at least one of the three Cs:
- coryza, or runny nose
Symptoms will appear about 9 to 11 days after initial infection.
Symptoms may include:
- runny nose
- dry hacking cough
- conjunctivitis, or swollen eyelids and inflamed eyes
- watery eyes
- photophobia, or sensitivity to light
- a reddish-brown rash
- Koplik’s spots, or very small grayish-white spots with bluish-white centers in the mouth, insides of cheeks, and throat
- generalized body aches
There is often a fever. This can range from mild severe, up to 40.6 degrees Centigrade. It can last several days, and it may fall and then rise again when the rash appears.
The reddish-brown rash appears around 3 to 4 days after initial symptoms. This can last for over a week.
The rash usually starts behind the ears and spreads over the head and neck. After a couple of days, it spreads to the rest of the body, including the legs. As the spots grow, they often join together.
Most childhood rashes are not measles, but a child should see a doctor if:
- a parent suspects the child may have measles
- symptoms do not improve, or they get worse
- the fever rises to above 38º Centigrade (ºC) or 100.4º Fahrenheit (ºF)
- other symptoms resolve, but the fever persists
The measles vaccine is widely available and is said to have dropped global rates of measles by over 75 percent.
Complications from measles are fairly common. Some can be serious.
People most at risk are patients with a weak immune system, such as those with HIV, AIDS, leukemia, or a vitamin deficiency, very young children, and adults over the age of 20 years.
Older people are more likely to have complications than healthy children over the age of 5 years.
Complications can include:
- eye infection
- respiratory tract infections, such as laryngitis and bronchitis
- difficulty breathing
- ear infections, which can lead to permanent hearing loss
- febrile seizures
Patients with a weakened immune system who have measles are more susceptible to bacterial pneumonia. This can be fatal if not treated.