Measles remained a common disease among various countries but was declared eliminated in the United States in the year 2000. Despite a developed vaccine, countries, such as the United States, with under-vaccinated or unvaccinated populations are at risk of a measles outbreak.
- The World Health Organization states that measles cases are rising rapidly throughout the world.
- According to the most recent figures, the number of cases of measles is more than two times higher in 2018 compared to 2017.
- While statistics for 2019 are not yet available, initial data suggests that there were 690,000 instances in the first 11 months of 2019 (an increase of more than 200 percent compared to the same period of the previous year).
What is an outbreak?
An outbreak is an increase in the number of endemic cases that is larger than expected. It could be a single instance in a new field. An outbreak can rapidly become an epidemic if it is not contained.
Outbreaks of measles are recently seen among countries where the virus was believed to be eliminated. The possible causes for measles to resurface include:
- Increase of anti-vaccination attitude among the population in recent years
- Reintroduction of measles infection by foreign visitors who are infected or not vaccinated
- Countries with poor health infrastructure and low resources may not be able to provide vaccines and other healthcare support to the population
- Natural disasters may spike infection rates as healthcare facilities are destroyed and healthcare providers are unable to do their duties, especially the duties related to immunization will be disrupted
Overall, the main cause for the rapid increase in measles in recent years is the failure in providing immunization or the idea of anti-vaccination.
What is measles?
Because of extensive immunization, measles is now uncommon in the United States. However, millions of instances occur each year throughout the world.
In an incidence in September 2019, the United States was at risk of losing measles elimination status due to several large-scale outbreaks resulting in more than 1,200 confirmed cases across 31 states.
Is measles contagious?
Measles is extremely contagious and may infect 9 out of 10 people who are not vaccinated for the virus if they meet an infected person.
The spread of measles is through direct contact with body fluids or inhaling virus-infected droplets from an infected person. It can spread by droplets blasted into the air when a measles patient sneezes or coughs.
When a person is exposed to the virus, symptoms generally appear 7 to 14 days later.
- People infected with measles can spread the disease from four days before the rash appears until four days after the rash appears.
- They are most infectious when they have a fever, runny nose, or cough.
- Those with weakened immune systems because of other illnesses, such as human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, can spread the measles virus until they recover.
8 symptoms of measles
The symptoms of measles include:
- A high fever that may go beyond 104°F
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva)
- Koplik’s spots: Tiny white spots may be seen in the mouth two to three days after symptoms begin.
- Measles skin rash: Small, raised, red spots appear on the skin three to five days after symptoms begin. The rash first appears on the face and hairline and spreads to the neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet.
- Complications from measles include ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhea, and panencephalitis, leading to deafness or intellectual disability
What is the treatment for measles?
There is no medical therapy for measles. The infection must be allowed to take its course.
- To avoid spreading the virus, a sick child should drink enough fluids, get plenty of rest, and take prescribed or over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms.
- The most important step to follow is to keep the infected child isolated at home.
- Unvaccinated children should be kept in the house away from the infected child in case of an outbreak.
- Vaccination is the only way to prevent the risk of being infected with measles. It is essential to provide complete immunization to everybody, especially to children who are at risk of getting infected.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all children get two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, with the first dose between 12 and 15 months of age followed by the second dose at four or six years of age.
Selim L. Measles explained: What’s behind the recent outbreaks? UNICEF. https://www.unicef.org/stories/measles-explained-whats-behind-recent-outbreaks
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Global Measles Outbreaks. https://www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/measles/data/global-measles-outbreaks.html
Cleveland Clinic. Measles. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8584-measles
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Complications of Measles. https://www.cdc.gov/measles/symptoms/complications.html
Top Do Measles Still Exist Related Articles
Does Rubella Cause German Measles?Rubella is a contagious viral infection that is also called German measles or three-day measles. While rubella infection symptoms are mild, they are more severe for pregnant women.
Bacterial Infections 101Get more information on bacterial skin infections, which bacteria cause food poisoning, sexually transmitted bacteria, and more. Explore the most common bacterial infections.
Childhood Vaccination ScheduleChildhood immunizations can protect children from potentially deadly diseases. Vaccinations included on the childhood immunization schedule include Hib, polio, DTaP, MMR, HPV, flu, chickenpox, meningitis, rotavirus, pneumonia, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B.
How Can I Get Rid of a Virus Fast?Any seasonal change invites viral infections. Children, old people, and those with diabetes are particularly vulnerable to various kinds of viral illnesses. Viral infection may last for only 1-2 weeks. However, the symptoms may interrupt your daily routine making you want to get rid of the virus immediately.
How Long Does the Measles Rash Last?What is measles, and what does the measles rash look like? Learn the signs of measles and how measles is treated.
Mono (Infectious Mononucleosis)Infectious mononucleosis is a virus infection in which there is an increase of white blood cells that are mononuclear (with a single nucleus) "Mono" and "kissing disease" are popular terms for this very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
Is Green Poop a Sign of Infection?Green poop may or may not be a sign of infection. The normal color of poop is brown, due to the bile pigment present in it. Any other color (green, red, black) needs attention. Abnormal colored poop may be due to changes in food habits, medicines or underlying medical causes.
MeaslesMeasles (rubeola) is a highly contagious disease that's caused by a virus. Symptoms include a rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Treatment focuses on symptom relief. The disease can be prevented with the measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox (varicella) vaccine (MMRV).
Measles PictureMeasles. Measles is an extremely contagious illness caused by a virus that replicates in the nose and throat of those infected. Although typically considered a childhood disease, anyone who is not vaccinated can get it. Symptoms such as a red itchy rash, fever, cough and runny nose usually begin appearing a week after exposure and progress in stages over a period of 2-3 weeks. It’s possible for you to be contagious to others for several days before you know you are sick and remain contagious even after the rash disappears.
Skin InfectionsViruses, bacteria, and fungi can all cause skin infections. What is scabies? Learn about golden staph infections, cellulitis, impetigo, fifth disease, leprosy, and more. See photos of infections like chickenpox, athlete’s foot, and candida, a fungal yeast skin infection.
Kids' Skin ProblemsWhat are the most common skin rashes in children? Learn about childhood eczema, ring worm, chicken pox and more. Get the facts on treatment for childhood skin problems.
What's a Virus?Is a virus alive? Learn the definition of a virus. Viral infections like COVID-19 can occur in your eyes, mouth, skin, or anywhere else. Should you use antibiotics to treat the flu? Is this STD a bacterium or a virus? Get the answers to the most common questions about viral infections.
What Are the 4 Types of Fungal Infection?The 4 most common types of fungal infections include athlete’s foot, ringworm, jock itch, and genital candidiasis.
What Are the 4 Types of Infections?Infection occurs when germs enter your body and multiply, resulting in disease. The four main types of infections are viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic.
When Is Green Poop a Sign of Infection?Green poop is a common issue, but sometimes it's a sign of infection. Learn green stool's signs, causes, and treatment options. Black poop is usually a common condition, but may signify underlying medical conditions.