Measles is a potentially severe disease which is caused by a virus that is easily spread. The measles virus is highly communicable and it is found all over the world. The virus is transmitted through direct contact and through the air. People, generally, catch the measles virus from the air when a diseased person coughs, sneezes or talks. The measles virus causes fever, cough, running nose and watery eyes. A rash gets developed within a few days which lasts for about a week. For some people, the conditions start getting better by itself after some days but for some other people, infected by measles, the disease becomes very serious.
It was in 1757, that, Francis Home, a Scottish physician, proved that measles is caused by a contagious virus found in the blood of patients. In 1912, measles was declared a nation-wide prominent disease in the U.S. According to the data, each year, 3 to 4 million people were infected with this disease in the U.S. In 1963, the measles vaccine was developed and distributed all over the U.S and other parts of the world.
Here we go through some facts about measles worth to be notified:
1. The disease infects other parts of the body as well, causing diarrhoea, middle ear infection among young children, pneumonia (infection in the lungs along with difficulty in breathing).
2. Some rare people with measles get encephalitis, a grave brain disease. The pregnant women, getting measles, result into early labor, miscarriage and low weight of infants at birth. There can be a possibility of people dying of measles.
3. For measles, there is no specific treatment. According to Stephen Pelton, MD, Chief of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at Boston Medical Centre, intake of Vitamin A might make the illness meeker and softer. However, the measles vaccine is very effective and has resulted into lowering down of measles cases to only 1% compared to the pre-vaccine era, in the U.S.
4. Measles complications are more likely to occur among children under 5 years of age, or adults over 20 years of age. Young children, who suffer from mal-nutrition, or with deficiency of Vitamin A and those patients infected by HIV/AIDS or other diseases weakening their immune systems, are more likely to experience severe complications of measles.
5. The young children, who are not vaccinated, are at the verge of highest risk of getting measles and experiencing its complications, including even death.
6. Some people, who have already caught measles disease once, are immune to it and they won’t catch the virus again as their body has learnt to deal with it. The people who get measles vaccination are also immune to the disease.
7. Measles is still prevalent in many developing nations – specifically in parts of Africa and Asia. More than 95% of deaths because of measles occur in the countries having low per capita income and poor health facilities.
8. There were 1, 45,700 deaths due to measles worldwide in year 2013. This means there were about 400 deaths every day.9. The vaccination of measles has resulted in a 75% reduction in measles deaths between 2000 and 2013, globally.
10. Measles vaccination has been successful in avoiding about 15.6 million deaths due to measles, during 2000-2013. So, measles vaccine has been one of the best vaccines in public health.
11. The outbreaks of measles can lead to epidemics that may cause several deaths. When measles is completely eliminated from some countries, even then, the travellers from other countries where the disease exists can bring along with them the infectious virus. So, the disease must be eradicated globally.
12. Measles is still found in many countries across the globe. The severe complications from it can well be prevented through good nutrition, sufficient intake of fluids and treatment of dehydration with the help of oral rehydration solution suggested by WHO. The infusion of measles vaccination in the early age is the best solution to put an end to the virus of this disease.