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Measles Outbreak In Mumbai: Know About The Disease, Its Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Mumbai has reported a measles outbreak. A one-year-old boy died on Monday due to complications caused by measles in Mumbai. As of November 15, seven suspected deaths caused by measles have been reported by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

This year, Mumbai has reported 1,079 suspected cases of fever and rashes and 142 confirmed cases [1].

What Is Measles?

Measles, or rubeola, is a virus that spreads from the respiratory system to the skin. It causes a significant number of deaths worldwide, despite the existence of an effective and safe vaccine.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were about 110,000 measles-related deaths worldwide in 2017 [2].

Although the death rate from measles has decreased worldwide as more children receive the measles vaccine, the disease still kills more than 200,000 people a year, most of them children.

What Are The Symptoms Of Measles?

After exposure to the measles virus, signs and symptoms of the disease appear between 10 and 14 days after contracting the disease. Signs and symptoms of measles include [3][4]:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis).
  • Spots with bluish-white Centers on a red background are found in the inner lining of the cheeks, also known as Koplik's spots.
  • Large, flat blotches of skin that often flow into one another.

What Causes Measles?

Viruses from the paramyxovirus family cause measles. These viruses are found in the nose and throat of individuals with the disease. As a result of coughing, sneezing, or talking, infectious droplets can be released into the air, causing others to breathe them in. The infectious droplets can last approximately an hour [5].

The virus may also land on a surface, where it can live and spread for several hours. You can contract the disease by putting your fingers in your mouth or nose or rubbing your eyes after touching an infected surface.

In general, the measles virus is highly contagious for a period of four days before the rash appears until four days after the rash appears. Therefore, approximately 90 per cent of individuals who have not been exposed to the measles virus or who have not been vaccinated against it will become infected when exposed to someone who has the virus [6].

What Are The Complications Of Measles?

Measles may cause the following complications [7]:

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Ear infections
  • Bronchitis, laryngitis or croup
  • Pneumonia
  • Encephalitis
  • Pregnancy problems

How Is Measles Treated?

Measles cannot be treated with antibiotics, as it is a viral infection which does not respond to antibiotics. Symptoms usually subside in two to three weeks following exposure to the virus.

In the event that a person has been exposed to the virus, there are some interventions available that may be able to prevent an infection or lessen its severity. These interventions include:

Vaccination against measles within 72 hours of exposure

Immunoglobulin is a type of immune protein that must be administered within six days of exposure.

How To Prevent Measles?

Children and adults are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to receive the measles vaccine to prevent measles. However, not everyone is eligible for a measles vaccine.

In the event that you are susceptible to infection [8]:

  • Keep your hands clean by washing them before eating, after using the bathroom, and before touching your face, mouth, or nose.
  • Be careful not to share personal items with people who may be ill. This includes items such as eating utensils, drinking glasses, and toothbrushes.
  • Do not come into contact with sick individuals.

Note: Rubella, also called German measles, is not the same as measles; some of its signs and symptoms are similar to measles, such as the red rash. Rubella is not as contagious or as severe as measles because a different virus causes it. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is highly effective at preventing rubella.

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