The likelihood of contracting a non-painful measles person in contact with a patient approaches 100%. Most often, children of preschool and school age are sick.
The source of infection is a sick person. The patient is contagious 4-6 days before the rash and in the first 4 days of the rash. The infection is transmitted by airborne droplets – by coughing, sneezing, talking and even breathing. A vertical transmission of measles is also possible – from a pregnant woman to the fetus.
The incubation period lasts an average of about 1-2 weeks.
Then the virus enters the blood from the mucous membrane of the mouth and pharynx and spreads to almost all organs and tissues.
Measles begins with:
headache, loss of appetite;
runny nose with profuse mucous (white) or mucopurulent (yellow-green) secretions;
dry, barking cough;
hoarseness of voice;
conjunctivitis (eyes are red and watery). The patient complains of pain in the eyes, a bright light annoys him;
temperature increase up to 390С and higher.
On day 3-5, the patient’s well-being improves slightly, the temperature decreases. However, after a day, the temperature rises again. Characteristic spots are formed on the inner surface of the cheeks, resembling the accumulation of semolina grains.
Two days later, a typical manifestation of measles develops – a rash. The rash consists of small papules (blisters) surrounded by a spot; she is shallow and plentiful, bright; capable of merging, covering the entire surface of the body, in severe cases, small hemorrhages form on the skin.
Stage of rashes
Characteristic for measles rash:
On the first day, they appear behind the ears, on the scalp, face and neck;
On the second day – on the trunk and upper arms;
On the third day – on the legs and lower part of the hands. At the same time, elements of the rash turn pale on the face.
From the fourth day, the rashes continue to turn pale in the same order as they appeared, leaving behind peeling and darkening of the skin (pigmentation).
Complications of measles: laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx), croup (stenosis of the larynx), tracheobronchitis, otitis media (inflammation of the ear), primary measles (viral) pneumonia, secondary bacterial pneumonia, stomatitis (inflammation of the oral mucosa), measles encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of the meninges), hepatitis, lymphadenitis, mesenteric lymphadenitis.
The most common complication of measles is pneumonia (pneumonia).
Diagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis is made by the doctor on the basis of examination and information on the contact of the child with measles.
In mild cases, measles is treated at home. The patient is provided with peace, dim lighting (with conjunctivitis, bright light causes severe pain). It is recommended to drink plenty of fluids, antihistamines (anti-allergic) drugs, rinse the mouth with a solution of soda. To prevent complications, anti-inflammatory drops (sulfacil, interferon) are instilled into the eyes.
With the development of complications, the child is hospitalized. The prognosis in most cases is favorable. In rare cases, complicated measles can lead to lifelong disability due to brain damage, blindness, and deafness.
After the disease, lifelong immunity occurs.
Russia has a National Measles Control Program, the task of which is to completely eradicate this disease in the Russian Federation. Measles vaccine is included in the vaccination schedule. It is administered to measles-free children aged 12-15 months. The second vaccine is given at the age of 6 years (in front of the school). It is possible to administer both monovaccines (only against measles) and tri-vaccines (against measles, mumps and rubella).