ABC Medical Center > Measles

What is Measles?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


This condition has a high infection rate and prevalence in children. It is a respiratory infection caused by a virus of the paramyxovirus family that mainly affects the nose and throat.

It is spread through the droplets of fluids when coughing, sneezing, or speaking, which can be inhaled or fall on any surface, and if someone makes contact with them and then touches their lips, nose, or eyes they can contract the virus that remains active for hours.

Measles is a serious disease that can be fatal, especially in children under five years old. As the use of the vaccine has spread worldwide, the number of infections and deaths has decreased, but it is a disease that is still very active, so it is necessary to continue promoting responsible vaccination against this virus.

Signs and symptoms Measles

The characteristic symptoms begin to show at the end of the virus incubation period, which is between 8 and 15 days after infection:

  • Small white spots in the oral cavity.
  • Reddish rashes on the skin accompanied by reddish spots.
  • High fever.
  • Cough without phlegm.
  • Congestion and runny nose.
  • Irritated and sore throat.
  • Conjunctivitis.

There are four phases of measles virus infection and in total they can last three to four weeks:

  • Infection/incubation: after infection, the virus requires 8 to 15 days to incubate. There are no symptoms in this phase.
  • General symptoms: it is the early phase of the disease, where symptoms that are not exclusive to measles begin to appear, so they can be confused with other conditions. It lasts three to four days.
  • Exacerbation of symptoms and skin rashes: at this stage, the fever increases considerably and characteristic measles rashes appear, first on the face and then on the upper and lower limbs.
  • Infection phase: lasts from eight to 10 days, a period that begins four or five days before the eruptive outbreak and ends when the outbreak has lasted four or five more days.

This condition can trigger a series of serious complications, such as:

  • Laryngeal and bronchial involvement.
  • Bacterial infections in the ear.
  • Encephalitis.
  • Premature birth and mother’s death.
  • Serious pneumonia infections.

Diagnosis and treatment Measles

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and your medical history, they will perform a physical examination to observe the type of skin lesions inside your mouth or on the rest of the body. However, these rashes can also be due to other diseases, so it is necessary to perform a blood test, throat swab, or urine test to confirm the diagnosis.

As it is a viral condition, there is no cure or specific therapy, but it is usually treated with painkillers, anti-inflammatories, vitamin A supplements, and antibiotics if an additional bacterial infection has developed.

If you have been exposed to the virus and still do not develop symptoms, it is advisable to apply the vaccine, which does not guarantee that you will not acquire the disease, but it helps to make it milder and of shorter duration.

The application of antibodies through immune serum globulin is also suggested in pregnant women, infants, and immunosuppressed adults to strengthen the immune system, preventing the disease or alleviating the intensity of the symptoms.

At the Pediatric Center, we provide specialized care to children from the moment of birth until they become adults, through our pediatric care, oncology, neurology, and cardiology services at the level of the best medical centers in the world.


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