MEASLES – THE VACCINE

If all women who are likely to conceive receive the vaccine, the complications from this disease will disappear. But each new group of girls should continue to be immunised. Constant reminders will be necessary as it becomes rarer.

Measles or morbilli, is a serious viral infection. Most children in cities have developed it before the age of 10. The incubation period is around 10 days.

The onset is abrupt, usually with a high temperature, cold-like symptoms, watery eyes and a harsh, dry cough. This cough is a marked feature and may suggest the diagnosis before the appearance of the rash.

The rash does not appear until the fourth day. It starts on the forehead and behind the ears and spreads to the face, trunk and limbs.

It is dusky pink, discrete and flat at the start, then becomes red, raised and blotchy. Koplik’s spots may be seen in the mouth before the rash and lead to a diagnosis. These are red with a bluish-white centre.

Complications are common with measles. Middle ear infection, bronchitis and pneumonia occur frequently. The potentially severe inflammation of the brain, encephalitis, can affect one case in 2000.

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