Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Measles Outbreak!

Please be aware of the symptoms of measles and visit your doctor at the earliest possible time if you are unwell.  Measles spread very easily and can be caught by breathing in droplets from an infected person when they cough or sneeze.  Always practice good hygiene and take note of following precautionary measures:

§  Isolation.
Measles is highly contagious from about four (4) days before to four (4) days after the rashes develop.  Those infected are strongly advised not to return immediately to activities involving interaction with people during this period.
§  Vaccinate.
The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) is the best way to protect against measles.
§  Wash your hands.
Clean your hands frequently with soap and hot water or use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60 percent alcohol.
§  Wear a surgical mask. 
When in the same room with a person infected with measles, cover your mouth and nose with a surgical mask.
§  Disinfect surfaces. 
Use a household disinfectant to clean any surface that may have been contaminated with sweat, saliva, mucus, vomit, stool or urine.  Wear disposable gloves while cleaning and dispose of the gloves when done.


What is measles?
Measles is a "highly infectious" viral illness caused by infection with the rubella virus. It can lead to serious complications and can even be fatal.

How can people be infected?
The virus spreads when infected people cough and sneeze - it is contained in the tiny droplets. People become infected by breathing in the droplets or by touching surfaces that have been contaminated with such droplets and then touching their noses or mouths.

Who are most likely to be infected?
Measles is mostly common among children between the ages of 1-4; however, anyone who has not had it before or has not been vaccinated can also be infected.

What are the symptoms?
§  Cold-like symptoms
§  Sensitivity to light
§  Red eyes
§  Fever
§  Grayish white spots in the mouth and throat
§  After a few days a red-brown spotty rash will appear - the rash usually starts behind the ears, spreads round the neck and head then to the rest of the body.

What are the complications?
Common complications of the infection are diarrhea, vomiting, eye infections and laryngitis. It can also lead to complications including meningitis and pneumonia. Some people can die from the illness.

What is the treatment?
There is no specific treatment for the infection and the body's immune system should fight off the illness in a couple of weeks. But in severe cases hospital treatment may be needed.

How can it be prevented?
The most effective way of preventing measles is the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine.  

Measles is a 'notifiable disease' - what does that mean?
“Any doctor that spots a notifiable disease must record and inform the local health authority” - This means local health officials can track the infection and can try to stop it from spreading.

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