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Questions and Answers About Childhood Measles

Questions and Answers About Childhood Measles


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Measles is an infectious disease, from the family of so-called exanthematic diseases, because it causes the appearance of spots on the skin. After the introduction of the MMR vaccine in the 1970s, measles became very rare, although the worrying rise in the anti-vaccine trend has caused us to find cases of this disease again. We will go on to comment on some details of measles.

What Causes Measles?

The agent responsible for measles is a paramyxovirus, a family to which the mumps virus also belongs.

How is measles spread in childhood?

This disease is spread by respiratory route. The contagiousness extends from four days before the appearance of the spots on the skin, until four days after they have disappeared.

What are the symptoms of measles in children?

Measles begins with a nonspecific phase (prodromal), consisting of a slight rise in body temperature, catarrhal symptoms, and general malaise.

After this phase, the state period begins, consisting of high fever (39-40ยบ), cough, mucus, sore throat, redness of the conjunctiva of the eye and the appearance of spots on the skin that tend to merge. The spots begin to appear on the face, and follow a downward evolution. In parallel, inside the mouth, on the inside of the cheek, some whitish spots appear (Koplik spots).

What complications can occur in a case of measles

- Respiratory: laryngitis, bronchitis, otitis, pneumonia.

- Neurological: encephalitis, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.

- Hematological: thrombopenia.

Complications are more frequent in children under two years of age, immunosuppressed and / or malnourished.

How measles is diagnosed in children

If the pediatrician clinically suspects measles, he or she will request a specific antibody determination as well as a pharyngeal smear.

What is the treatment for measles

The treatment of this disease is symptomatic: antipyretics (ibuprofen, paracetamol), hydration, relative rest. The most serious cases require hospital admission.

The most important treatment is prevention. For which, from our site we will not tire of repeating the importance of universally vaccinating all children.

Precautions to consider

In the case of infants aged 6-11 months who require prolonged stays in countries with the highest number of measles cases, both European (France, Greece, Italy, United Kingdom and Romania) and non-European, the need must be assessed before traveling they receive an extra dose of MMR vaccine. Short trips for tourist reasons do not receive any additional vaccination.

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