What is Measles?
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness caused by the Morbillivirus. It is characterized by a distinctive red rash that appears on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Measles is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks, and it can be contracted by others who are in close proximity.
The first symptoms of measles typically appear about 7-14 days after exposure to the virus and may include high fever, cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the mouth. A few days later, the characteristic red rash usually develops and spreads over the entire body.
Measles can lead to serious health complications, especially in young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. Complications can include pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and ear infections, which can lead to permanent hearing loss. Measles can also increase the risk of premature birth or low birth weight in pregnant women.
Measles can be prevented through vaccination with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. The MMR vaccine is highly effective and has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated. The World Health Organization recommends that all children receive two doses of the MMR vaccine, with the first dose given at around 12 months of age and the second dose given at around 4-6 years of age.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of measles in some parts of the world due to declining vaccination rates. This has led to outbreaks of the disease in communities where large numbers of people are not protected against it. In order to protect public health, it is important for people to get vaccinated against measles and to ensure that their children receive the MMR vaccine according to the recommended schedule.
In conclusion, measles is a highly contagious viral illness characterized by a distinctive red rash. It can lead to serious health complications, especially in young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. Measles can be prevented through vaccination with the MMR vaccine, and it is important for people to get vaccinated and to ensure that their children receive the MMR vaccine according to the recommended schedule.