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MEASLES

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory infection that's caused by a paramyxovirus and is the most unpleasant and the most dangerous of the children's diseases that result in a rash. It is also known rubeola. It should not be confused with rubella (German measles).

Spread of infection-
1. Droplets transfer the infections. Although the sick person may be in isolation, the disease may still spread from room to room.
2. Anybody who has not already had measles can be infected.
4. Infants up to four months of age will not be infected if their mother has had measles herself because they will be protected by her antibodies.

Period-
The infection has an average incubation period of 14 days (range 6-19 days) and infectivity lasts from 2-4 days prior, until 2-5 days following the onset of the rash (i.e. 4-9 days infectivity in total).

Risk factors-
Those people at high risk for measles include:
1.children less than 1 year of age (although they have some immunity passed from their mother, it is not 100% effective),
2.People who have not received the proper vaccination series,
3.People who received immunoglobulin at the time of measles vaccination, and
4.People immunized from 1963 until 1967 with an older ineffective killed measles vaccine.

Symptoms-
After about 14 days the following symptoms start showing:

  • A fever at about 39ºC.
  • A cold.
  • Coughing, possibly with a barking cough.
  • Sore throat - the lymph nodes in the throat may swell.
  • Reddish eyes (conjunctivitis).
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Grayish spots, the size of grains of sand may appear in the mucous membrane of the mouth just around the molar teeth. These are called Koplik's spots and can be seen before the rash appears.
  • After three to four days the temperature may fall, although it can run high again when the rash appears.
  • The rash usually begins around the ears and spreads to the body and the legs within a day or two.
  • At first the spots are very small - a couple of millimetres - but they double in size quickly and begin to join together.
  • The spots are a clear red colour.
  • The temperature, which may run as high as 40ºC, may stay that high for a couple of days. Then it disappears together with the rash, which may leave some brown spots.
  • After a week the child will be fit again.
Children who have had measles cannot return to school or childcare before they recover and the temperature is gone.

Complications-
Complications with measles are relatively common,
1.Mild and less serious diarrhea,
2.Pneumonia
3.Encephalitis (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis),
4.Corneal ulceration leading to corneal scarring.
Complications are usually more severe amongst adults who catch the virus.
The fatality rate from measles for otherwise healthy people in developed countries is 3 deaths per thousand cases, or .3%.In underdeveloped nations with high rates of malnutrition and poor healthcare, fatality rates have been as high as 28%.[6] In immunocompromised patients (e.g. people with AIDS) the fatality rate is approximately 30 percent.

Diagnosis and Investigations-
1.Signs and symptoms- presence of koplik's spot as mentioned bove.
2.Presence of IgM antibodies in blood.
3.Isolation of virus in the respiratory specimen.
4.Complete blood count.

Treatment-
1.Isolation of the patient.
2.Nutritious diet and proper rest should be taken.

Prevention-
Infants are generally protected from measles for 6 months after birth due to immunity passed on from their mothers. Older kids are usually immunized against measles according to state and school health regulations.
For most kids, the measles vaccine is part of the measles-mumps-rubella immunizations (MMR) or measles-mumps-rubella-varicella immunization (MMRV) given at 12 to 15 months of age and again at 4 to 6 years of age.
Measles vaccine is not usually given to infants younger than 12 months old. But if there's a measles outbreak, the vaccine may be given when a child is 6-11 months old, followed by the usual MMR immunization at 12-15 months and 4-6 years.
As with all immunization schedules, there are important exceptions and special circumstances. Measles vaccine should not be given to pregnant women or to kids with untreated tuberculosis, leukemia or other cancers, or people whose immune systems are suppressed for any reason.
Also, the vaccine shouldn't be given to kids who have a history of severe allergic reaction to gelatin or to the antibiotic neomycin, as they are at risk for serious reactions to the vaccine.
During a measles outbreak, people who have not been immunized (especially those at risk of serious infection, such as pregnant women, infants, or kids with weakened immune systems) can be protected from measles infection with an injection of measles antibodies called immune globulin if it's given within 6 days of exposure. These antibodies can either prevent measles or make symptoms less severe. The measles vaccine also may offer some protection if given within 72 hours of measles exposure.

Role of homoeopathy
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the fever, Koplik's spots etc. Measles can easily be cured and/or prevented through homoeopathy, especially when an epidemic of measles breaks out.

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