Protecting Children from Menace of Measles: Measles Immunization Day 16 March

Posted by on Mar 15, 2015 in Swavalamban Blog

make sure to get your child vaccinated

Measles is a highly contagious, serious disease caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family and it is normally passed through direct contact and through the air. The virus infects the mucous membranes, then spreads throughout the body.
Measles is a leading cause of childhood deaths. Every year around 3 million cases of Measles are seen and about 900,000 children die because of Measles around the world. In India everyday, 500 children die because of it.

Measles is a highly contagious disease, which spreads through air. Mere sneezing by an infected child in a group of children can easily spread this virus. It spreads so easily that any child who is exposed to it and is not immune will probably get it. One can get measles from an infected person who coughs or sneezes around you or even talks to you.

measles rash

Measles signs and symptoms appear 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Signs and symptoms of measles typically include:
• Fever
• Dry cough
• Runny nose
• Sore throat
• Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
• Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner     lining of the cheek — also called Koplik’s spots
•A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another

Risk factors for measles include:

– Being unvaccinated. If you haven’t received the vaccine for measles, you’re much more likely to develop the disease.
– Traveling internationally. If you travel to developing countries, where measles is more common, you’re at higher risk of catching the disease.
– Having a vitamin A deficiency. If you don’t have enough vitamin A in your diet, you’re more likely to contract measles and to have more-severe symptoms

Complications of measles in children are:

• About 1 out of every 10 children who get measles also get an ear infection (Otitis media). 
• Upto 1 out of 20 of them get pneumonia. 
• About 1 child in every 1,000 who get measles get encephalitis. (Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, and can leave your child deaf or mentally retarded.)
• Out of every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 die from it. In developing countries (like India), where malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency is prevalent, measles has been known to kill as many as one out of four children.
• Diarhoea and pneumonia are other complications of measles which can cause death
• Measles can also cause permanent brain damage
• In some countries measles causes blindness
• Measles can also lead to degenerative disease of nervous system named as SSPE (Subacute Sclerosing Pan Encephalitis). SSPE can further cause paralysis.
These complications are more common among children under 5 years of age and adults over 20 years old.

Treatment for Measles

Few drugs like Interferon, Vitamin A, may be used for the treatment of Measles. Moreover, certain antibodies are required to treat ear and chest complications as well as chemotherapeutic agents have been tried for the treatment of Measles (SSPE) but unfortunately these remedies are not very effective and hence vaccination is a better way to prevent complications of Measles. Measles is a completely preventable disease.
early treatment is best cure
The first dose of Measles should be given at the age of 9 months (M-Vac). However, it has been observed that a single dose of Measles is not enough for effective eradication of this disease. Therefore, a second dose against Measles as MMR (Tresivac) should be administered at the age of 12-15 months
Usually two doses against Measles (first M-Vac at 9 months and Tresivac at 12-15 months) offer long term protection. Clinical data is available showing antibody titers well above the minimal limits up to 16 years after vaccination

Other Complications of Measles may include:

1. Ear infection. One of the most common complications of measles is a bacterial ear infection.

2. Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup. Measles may lead to inflammation of your voice box (larynx) or inflammation of the inner walls that line the main air passageways of your lungs (bronchial tubes).

3. Pneumonia. Pneumonia is a common complication of measles. People with compromised immune systems can develop an especially dangerous variety of pneumonia that is sometimes fatal.

4. Encephalitis. About 1 in 1,000 people with measles develops encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that may cause vomiting, convulsions, and, rarely, coma or even death. Encephalitis can closely follow measles, or it can occur months later.

5. Pregnancy problems. If you’re pregnant, you need to take special care to avoid measles because the disease can cause pregnancy loss, preterm labor or low birth weight.

6. Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia). Measles may lead to a decrease in platelets — the type of blood cells that are essential for blood clotting.

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