Measles is one of the most deadly and contagious diseases known. It is caused by a virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of infected individuals and attacks the respiratory tract.
Infants and children, less than 5 years are most vulnerable to measles infection. Every day, approximately 350 children die globally. Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have given warnings of predicted measles outbreaks.
Measles is spread by only humans. No animal has been confirmed to spread or harbour measles. When an infected human coughs or sneezes, measles virus remains in the air for up to 2 hours. Hence, it is transmitted when inhaled by a healthy person. Droplets from an infected surface also infects an healthy person when transferred to the eyes, nose or mouth through touch.
Children less than 5 years, adults above 20 years, pregnant women and immunocompromised people are at high risk of contracting the measles virus. Symptoms are fever, running nose, cough, red eyes, sore throat, body rash, and white spots inside the mouth.
Measles have a lethal effect on the body. The measles virus weakens the immune system and makes the infected individual more vulnerable to other infectious diseases. It can also lead to complications such as diarrhoea, vomiting, eye infection, laryngitis, bronchitis, febrile seizure, pneumonia and otitis media. Measles in a pregnant woman leads to miscarriage, premature labour and low birth weight.
Laboratory diagnoses include Measles-specific IgM antibody detection in serum and Measles RNA detection by Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction in respiratory specimen.
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