What is Measles?
Measles is a highly infectious (spreads easily) disease characterized by fever, catarrh, cough and rash all over the body. It is all over the world but more severe in poor countries. Death can occur due its several possible complications ranging from chest infections to infections of the brain. The diseases tends to affect many people at the same time
Among the vaccine-preventable childhood killer diseases, measles is the worst; accounting for 50-60 percent of deaths from that class of diseases.
It affects about thirty (30) million persons annually with about half a million deaths, mostly in countries like Nigeria. The other vaccine preventable diseases are TB, polio, whooping cough, tetanus, meningitis and diphtheria. You can easily save your child from this disease and the others.
What causes measles and how does it spread?
Measles is caused by a virus and spreads from person to person by close contact, during sneezing, coughing, or contact with items just contaminated by the sick person such as toys and handkerchiefs or direct contact with the saliva or nasal discharge of the sick person. Consequently personal hygiene is contributory in breaking the spread of the disease.
Who does it affect?
Measles affects children mostly under the age of 2 (two) years, over 80 percent of cases are under the age of five (5) years but no age is exempted. Adults are occasionally affected.
Males and females are equally affected but the disease is usually more severe in males.
What are the possible complications?
Possible complications of measles infection include pneumonia, ear infection, skin infection, brain infection, deafness, blindness, diarrhea, malnutrition and death.
What contributes to complications?
Complications are worse in males than females. Measles is more severe in poorly fed children, meanwhile, measles itself can lead to malnutrition in children. Infection of measles occurs more in crowded places and complications tend to be more in such places as well.
How do I save my child from measles?
You can help save your child from the infection by feeding him well, practicing personal hygiene and by vaccination.
Vaccination against measles is usually at 9 (nine) months of age. During epidemics, it could be given at 6 (six) months. This single injection gives life-long protection against measles to the child.