From 1st January to 1st August 2021 there have been about 6,700 cases of measles in Nigeria. Source (Statista.com)
What is Measles?
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease caused by the morbillivirus. It is characterized by fever and rash. Although measles is often associated with childhood illness, adults can be infected also.
What are the symptoms of Measles?
- Sore throat
- Flat blotched skin rash
- Runny nose
- Dry cough
- Inflamed or red eyes
- White spots in the mouth
Who is at risk of Measles?
Anyone who has not been vaccinated against measles and anyone who has not been infected with measles before is at risk of getting measles. Once you are infected with measles, your body develops resistance against the virus as such building natural immunity.
Also Children under the age of 5, pregnant women and adults who have been exposed to the virus.
How is measles diagnosed?
- Physical examination of the symptoms (rash and fever)
- A laboratory test with a blood sample, urine sample, throat swab to detect the presence of the morbillivirus.
What are the complications from Measles?
Complications are rare, but in some cases, severe complications can arise from being infected with measles they include;
- Encephalitis (The brain gets inflamed/swollen).
- Pneumonia (lung infection).
What is the Treatment for Measles?
Although the infection usually clears up between 7 to 10 days, it can cause great discomfort. To manage this the following are usually prescribed;
- Pain medications like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen for aches and fever.
- Fluid (Juice, water, oral rehydration salt solution)
- Vitamin A; most often, children with low levels of vitamin A tend to suffer from more severe measles episodes.
- Antibiotic medications in cases of pneumonia.
How can Measles be Prevented?
- Get vaccinated. Although not all people can receive the Measles vaccine, pregnant women, people who have weak immune systems due to diseases like Hiv/Aids or are undergoing cancer treatment like chemotherapy can wait to get the vaccine when they are better or not pregnant.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Keep proper hygiene.