Since December 2017, the number of measles cases in New Aquitaine, where today there are nearly 200 people affected including many adults, worries.

And when you know that a person infected with measles can infect between 15 or 20 others, there is something to fear an epidemic. Especially since this highly contagious viral infection can be fatal.

Who can catch the virus?

In addition to children, unvaccinated pregnant women have a significant risk of contracting it, with the risk of fetal abnormalities, in utero fetal death, and congenital measles.

Similarly, people with weakened immune defenses , those who have never been vaccinated or have never contracted the disease may be affected.

How is measles spread?

It is due to a virus that is transmitted either by direct contact (hand to hand or hand to a contaminated object) or by air (coughing, sneezing, postilions). It then infects the airways and spreads throughout the body.

The virus is active and contagious in air or on contaminated surfaces for 2 hours. The carriers of the virus can transmit it during the 4 days preceding the appearance of the rash and the 4 days which follow.

Measles: the symptoms that must alert

At first, the disease is manifested by a general depression and high fever about ten days after exposure to the virus and persists between 4 and 7 days.

Flowing nose, cough, red and swollen eyes, watery eyes, photophobia (discomfort at the sight of the light) whitish spots on the inner side of the cheeks then appear.

A rash of small, slightly raised red spots appears a few days later behind the ears, forehead, face, neck, and upper body before spreading to the hands and feet for 5 to 6 days.

When the disease gets worse

Serious complications, frequent in adults over twenty years, may appear and require hospitalization: blindness, encephalitis may be accompanied by cerebral edema, diarrhea may trigger dehydration, ear infections, respiratory infections such as pneumonia, liver and kidneys, otitis, laryngitis.

In the most extreme cases, measles can even lead to death.

Measles treatments

Unfortunately, there is no specific antiviral treatment for measles.

Only symptoms such as fever and respiratory tract infections can be treated.

Can we prevent it?

The only really effective means of prevention is vaccination .

It is highly recommended that people around the patient get vaccinated quickly (if they have never been) to be protected. The MMR vaccine will protect them not only against measles but also against rubella and mumps. From the age of 18, the vaccine is reimbursed up to 65%. All persons born since 1980 must normally have been vaccinated. If this is not the case, a catch-up is possible (and recommended).

Finally, this disease must be reported to the Regional Health Agency by the doctor who diagnoses it.

Namely: People who are cured of measles are immune for life.

Sources:
WHO - http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/
Measles Info - http://www.info-rougeole.fr/