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Infectious, highly contagious disease. It is part of the group of diseases manifested by marked skin changes, erythematous rash (reddened skin, with plaques tending to unite) and involvement of various organs. Measles is caused by a virus called Morbili Virus.
Men and monkeys are the only animals that naturally harbor this virus. Breathing droplets and even air with the virus still alive are responsible for the spread of the disease.
The period of contamination begins 3 to 4 days before and goes until 4 to 5 days after the appearance of skin lesions (skin rash). The time between contamination and onset of symptoms (incubation period) averages 2 weeks.
Very high fever, severe cough, runny nose, conjunctivitis and maculopapular rash (skin with rough reddish plaques). Internal examination of the cheek allows to identify small yellowish-white spots (enanthem of Koplick) confirming the diagnosis.
For diagnosis, in addition to the analysis of symptoms and skin manifestations, a blood test may be requested to check for the presence of antibodies.
Treatment and prevention
Most of the time, treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms such as fever and cough, or to combat any complications when antibiotics are used.
Very special cases may require anti-measles gamma globulin-type medication, targeting the virus itself or enhancing the overall defense capability. Measles is certainly the most serious of the so-called common childhood diseases: severe complications and death occur in up to 3/1000 cases.
Prevention is through vaccination applied at 12 months and with booster at 4-6 years and at 12 years. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant within 90 days should not be vaccinated.