Measles is an eruptive fever caused by a specific virus. It is a commonest infectious disease of childhood.
Mode of Transmission:
Transmission occurs mainly by droplet infection through air as well as by direct contact with the patient.
The incubation period is from 8 to 12 days, rarely longer than 15 days.
The early symptoms of the disease are sometimes so mild that it becomes difficult to recognize the true nature of the disease In some cases the pre-eruptive stage lasts for three to four days and is characterized by fever, coughing, sneezing, running of nose and redness of eyes.
The preliminary eruptions are visible in the mouth in the form of small spots, pin-head in size and bluish-white in color, known as Kalpak’s spot. In the Eruptive stage, skin rash appears as small dusky red spots on the face and neck which increases in size and number and form large parches.
Within 2 to 3 days of the commencement, it spreads to the chest, back, abdomen, limbs and gradually to the entire body. There is much itching of the skin and burning of the eyes. By the fifth or sixth day the rash begins to fade leaving a brownish discoloration which may be seen for a period.
A running nose, red eyes and sore throat in children must be considered suspicious especially when there is an epidemic. Measles itself is not a dangerous disease, but its complications, such as pneumonia are serious.
One attack confers a lasting immunity, second attack is very rare. Though there is no provision of measles vaccines in our country, yet it has been extensively used in several countries in recent years, which confer substantial protection in children.
To prevent the spread of the disease, all cases must be isolated. Bed and bedding and clothing should be carefully washed and exposed to the son. It is highly infectious during the pre-eruptive stage and at the time of eruption the patient must be comfortably warm and allowed plenty of fresh air. With proper care, the patient will be cured within a fortnight’s time and then the general health should be attended to.