Most parts of India are currently witnessing a measles outbreak affecting India’s healthcare system massively. The outbreak is caused mostly in the parts that have poor infrastructure and massive poverty. Measles in India has been increasing for the past few years making it to the 4th position in the world with the most cases in the year 2018-19.
However, understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment is necessary to understand the outbreak better. Today, new cases of measles can be seen largely affecting Mumbai in which 12 children have been killed so far. The sluggish measles vaccination program due to a surge in covid cases is one of the contributing factors in leading the measles outbreak.
Specific reasons for the rise of measles outbreaks in India
India is a close-netted country with millions of poverty-stricken living in a shell that is vulnerable to such outbreaks. The reason that such outbreaks can be witnessed largely in India is because of the nature of it being highly contagious, people who are poverty ridden and lives in slums are living close to their counterparts. This increases the risk of the spread of the outbreak, apart from this the lack of hygiene and sanitation also plays a major role in the spread of the outbreak. However, symptoms such as cough and cold, runny nose and similar can be treated easily that may or may not be due to the outbreak.
The Symptoms of the Measles Virus
The commonly occurred symptoms of the measles virus include-
- High Fever
- Extreme red eyes
- Runny nose
- Red rash over the body
- White spots inside the mouth
- Light sensitivity
- Muscle pain and tenderness
- Sore throat
The infection occurs in multiple phases
The first stage is when the infection spreads in the first 10 days to two weeks but no symptoms arise.
Mild symptoms include cough, moderate fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and sore throat. This may last for 2-3 days after which rashes on the head arise that spread down to the upper body and then the lower body. The red clusters first appear on the face and the fever rises to 104 to 105 F.
The measles rash may last for seven days but the other symptoms last for about 10 days before complete recovery.
What is the cause of measles?
A virus called morbillivirus spreads measles. It is highly contagious and is spread in multiple ways such as
- Through airborne transmission via coughing or sneezing
- Sharing food or drinks with a person infected with measles.
- Being in physical contact with someone who is infected with measles.
- From pregnant women to babies
It may take up to 21 days for the symptoms to develop after the person is infected while 8 days, half before and a half after the rash is gone for the person to be contagious.
Diagnosis of Measles-
Measles can be diagnosed by laboratory tests such as blood, secretions from the nose and throat, and urine. The doctor can also diagnose and come up with proper treatment and preventive measures on the basis of the diagnosis. The vaccine can still be given as a preventive dose in a 3-day period after a person has come in contact with someone with measles.
How can measles be treated?
The virus eventually runs its course and fades away in 10 to 14 days. However, certain steps can be taken to lessen its effects of it.
- Taking prescribed medications by the doctor for a fever.
- Plenty of rest is required
- Proper fluid intake
- Salt water gargling
- Avoiding direct contact with light.
For the prevention of the disease, MMR Vaccine can be given to babies between the age of 12 to 15 months, and the second shot by 4 to 5 years of age. If you’re an adult and not certain about whether you have been vaccinated or not, consult your healthcare provider.
MMRV vaccine is also available for children of 12 months to 12 years of age. Same to the MMR vaccine, the child should get the first vaccine shot at 12 to 15 months of age and the second shot by the age of 4 to 6 years.
The Measles vaccine
Measles is a contagious airborne disease that causes rash, fever, red eyes, and cough. The symptoms may develop 12 days later after being exposed to the virus. The symptoms can last up to two weeks and it is also known as rubeola which is different than the german virus as the virus is different in both measles.
The German virus on the other hand is hazardous for pregnant women as it can lead to miscarriage and defects in birth. People who have not received any measles immunization or measles vaccine are at a greater risk of being infected by the virus, earlier when the vaccines were not developed almost every other person suffered from the infectious virus.
Complications caused by measles
Complications that are associated with measles are diarrhea, pneumonia, ear infections, and encephalitis ( leading to inflammation in the brain, hearing loss, seizures, death, and learning disabilities.) The complications can more likely occur in children aged 5 years or older, pregnant women, adults aged 20 or older, or people with a weak immune system.
Bansal Hospital has a credible team of doctors to contact in Bhopal if you or your child comes into contact you can consult the experts and run on their diagnosis and prescription for better treatment.
Ans. If you haven’t got the rash, it is advisable to wait for 8 days minimum before beginning work or school but if the rash is visible, it is advisable to wait for 4 days.
Pregnant women shouldn’t get a vaccine, and people with a weakened immune system and allergic reaction to some other previous vaccine. It is advisable to take suggestions about when to take the necessary vaccine from your healthcare provider.
Ans. Contact your healthcare provider if your child has come into contact with someone with measles, or if they have measles and are getting sicker day by day.