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Global spread of measles infection

  • Category
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    26th Sep, 2019

With a 30% increase in measles cases worldwide in 2018, the World Health Organization, in January 2019, included ‘vaccine hesitancy’ as one of the 10 threats to global health this year.

Context

With a 30% increase in measles cases worldwide in 2018, the World Health Organization, in January 2019, included ‘vaccine hesitancy’ as one of the 10 threats to global health this year.

About

  • Measles is a highly infectious illness caused by the rubeola virus.
  • It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.
  • If measles enters an area where the people have never been exposed, the result can be devastating.
  • Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.

Facts on measles

  • 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

Symptoms

  • Runny nose
  • Dry hacking cough
  • Conjunctivitis, or swollen eyelids and inflamed eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Photophobia, or sensitivity to light
  • Sneezing
  • 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

Types

There are two types of measles:

  • Measles: This is the standard form caused by the rubeola virus.
  • Rubella, or German measles: This is caused by the rubella virus.
  • Rubella generally presents as mild but presents more of a risk to unborn infants than young children if a woman contracts the virus while she is pregnant.
  • It is neither as infectious nor as severe as standard measles.
  • The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine contains immunizations for both types.
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