Measles


Last updated: Measles is a viral infection causing symptoms such as sensitivity to light, high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. These are followed by a rash a few days later. Measles spreads through sneezes and coughs and is highly infectious. All symptoms normally resolve without medical intervention after 2-3 weeks. Complications are rare and are associated with pre-existing illness, malnutrition and lack of vitamin A.[1] They rarely occur in otherwise healthy and well-nourished children. Once a child has had the disease, it is very unlikely to ever get measles again. 
The WHO says: “Severe complications from measles can be avoided through supportive care that ensures good nutrition, adequate fluid intake and treatment of dehydration with WHO-recommended oral rehydration solution. This solution replaces fluids and other essential elements that are lost through diarrhoea or vomiting. Antibiotics should be prescribed to treat eye and ear infections, and pneumonia.All children in developing countries diagnosed with measles should receive two doses of vitamin A supplements, given 24 hours apart. This treatment restores low vitamin A levels during measles that occur even in well-nourished children and can help prevent eye damage and blindness. Vitamin A supplements have been shown to reduce the number of deaths from measles by 50%.”[1] During the 2013 outbreak in South Wales, the media portrayed measles as a killer disease and health authorities started a mass-immunisation campaign. Of the 1455 [2] total reported cases, only about a third were confirmed to be measles following laboratory tests. [3] Several hundred cases still sounds like a lot but that in itself isn’t of concern, as long as there aren’t any complications. The media focused on the only death case of the outbreak, a 25 year old male with alcohol problems, who was on…

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