Measles spread worldwide • HealthNews

“New measles infections again”, “Fear of a new measles pandemic”, “Despite the possibility of vaccinating more and more measles cases in children” – similar headlines are read more often. Measles are back worldwide and more and more people are infected with the virus, especially children. Everyone has in mind the idea of ​​a child with red blisters all over his body and overall he looks very weak. But how do measles show up, why is it raging again now, and what can be done to prevent the disease?

measles history

The first detailed descriptions of an itchy infection can be found in 910. However, it is believed that measles did not develop from the bovine plague virus until the 11th century. The spread of the virus then took place with an increase in population and close contact between humans. Since then, the virus has claimed many lives and the World Health Organization (WHO) has set itself the goal of eradicating the disease worldwide. Infection vaccination was therefore developed in the late 1960s and has almost successfully stopped measles over the years. Some countries have even introduced compulsory vaccination of children. The WHO then continued to focus strongly on combating the virus in 2020, but this goal was overshadowed by the coronavirus situation. If you compare the numbers infected on the African continent over the years, you can see that by 2020 they fell sharply. In 1980, there were 1.2 million people, and in 2013 it was only 83,000 people, with children mainly affected. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there have been worldwide vaccination breaks, and many have been put at the mercy of the virus. In addition, escape situations have led and still lead to increased infection, as you often have to endure a lot of people in a small space. The measles virus is considered highly contagious and can be transmitted through physical contact and droplet infection.

Symptoms and dangers of infection

Symptoms of a measles infection are as follows:

  • high fever
  • Cough
  • Cold
  • Inflammation of the nose and throat and conjunctiva
  • A rash that takes several days to develop

These symptoms usually go away on their own and weaken the immune system. However, this weakening can also lead to complications. This often results in other diseases, such as otitis media, respiratory tract infections or pneumonia. The development of meningitis due to measles is also particularly dangerous. It occurs in about one in 1,000 cases of measles and 10 to 20 percent of those affected die. 20 to 30 percent results in mental disability or paralysis. So it is not the measles infection itself that is so dangerous, but the secondary diseases that can arise from it.

How can you protect yourself?

If you already have measles, you can usually alleviate the symptoms with antipyretics and cough medicines, and the body makes the antibodies itself. These antibodies remain in the bloodstream throughout life, so the infection occurs only once. If you have not been infected with the virus, you can protect yourself by vaccination. This vaccination has been in place since 2013 and, as already mentioned, has been used successfully since the 1970s. It is primarily a live vaccine. This means that small parts of the virus are injected into the body so that it can make antibodies on its own. This vaccination is also known as triple vaccination against “measles, mumps and rubella” and should be given to children. If you have received two doses of the vaccine, the protection is as high as 99%. With the help of many proponents of vaccination, it would indeed be possible to eradicate the measles virus in a sustainable way around the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.