Measles is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the measles virus. It can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva. It also spreads via respiratory droplets produced during coughing or sneezing.
The virus enters the body and establishes itself in the back of throat and lymphatic system. The disease is diagnosed by physical examination along with a blood test confirming the presence of the virus. The symptoms begin with high fever, cough and running nose and appear about seven to fourteen days after infection. This is followed by tiny white spots inside the mouth and flat red rashes across the body. During the development and spread of rashes, the fever scales up to 104 to 105.8oF.
An infected person may spread the virus to others starting four days before the appearance of rashes and exceeding up to next four days. The complete recovery takes about seven to fourteen days with treatment. Several complications associated with the disease include severe diarrhea and dehydration, respiratory infections like pneumonia or brain infections called encephalitis.
Not being vaccinated with MMR which stands for ‘measles, mumps and rubella’, travelling in developing countries with higher prevalence of measles and Vitamin A deficiency are some of the major risk factors associated with the infection. In general, no specific treatment is available for measles. However, bed rest, increased intake of fluids and control of fever are some options for treatment during measles. After a few days, the fever subsides and the rash fades.