Measles is one of the most recent contagious disease reported in Kansas. According to the Kansas City star newspaper dated March 29, 2018, the University of Kansas Hospital has recently warned the employees and patients that there is a likelihood that they might have been exposed to measles. Reports coming from the hospital staff shows that a patient who underwent therapy in the hospital from March 23 to March 26 tested positive for the highly contagious viral illness. Measles is a common infection in Europe, Pacific, Africa and Asia and unvaccinated passengers travelling to and from those geographical areas have been found to carry the disease to the U.S. The paper discusses measles, causes and symptoms and some of the ways of preventing the disease.
Measles is a viral disease which is fast in spreading in the community. Morbilli and rubeola are terms used to refer to measles which is an endemic infection which means it is always present in the society and a lot of people develop resistance to the disease. Research shows that a virus known as paramyxovirus is the one which is responsible for causing measles. The disease is transmitted in tiny droplets especially during coughing, sneezing and breathing of a person infected with the disease. Unlike other disease viruses such as Influenza, the virus responsible for causing measles can’t survive for long periods in telephones and door knobs. Paramyxovirus is airborne virus meaning it is highly contagious. According to research it is only 10% of people who are not vaccinated sharing a house or room with a measles patient will escape the infection.
Signs and Symptoms
After infection, the virus multiplies in the human body for around 1 or 2 weeks without causing any visible signs. The period is known as incubation period. Thereafter, initial symptoms like coughing, running nose, fever and red eyes become common. Besides, the disease causes irritation in children. Small, red and irregular spots containing a bluish or whitish center known as Koplik’s begin to appear just 2 days after the initial symptoms. These Koplik’s spots develop on the inner side of the cheek next to molars. These spots are followed by development of rashes behind the ears, on the face and forehead, and sometimes spreads to the legs, trunks and arms. After 5 days, the rash begins to fade starting with the ones on the forehead to the legs. The skin appears brownish after the disappearance of the rashes and after sometime the top layer of the skin will peel off to the ground. In some people, measles increases the sensitivity to light and causes inflammation of the eyes. A severe fever will develop at the peak of the illness and it is serious because the temperatures may elevate to as high as 40o C.
Requirements of Local Health Community
There are various things my local health department requires me to do once I suspect that a person could be having measles. Some of these include asking the patient of his or her vaccination status, and current international travel. If the person is an international travel, the local department requires me to ask the person of the domestic venues he or she has travelled to recently. Besides, I am supposed to interview the person to know if he or she had contact with someone who has travelled internationally. I am then supposed to report the suspected cases of measles outbreak to my local health department with immediate effect. Moreover, ensuring a person goes laboratory test is vital for all outbreaks and sporadic cases of measles. My local health community also requires all physicians to obtain a throat swab and a serum sample from persons suspected to have measles infections in their first contact with such patients. Moreover, research shows that urine samples carry the virus and thus collecting urine and respiratory samples increases the likelihood of detecting the measles virus which is a requirement in my local health community.
There are various books and publications available to the general public which discuss more about measles. One of these books which has proved useful to the travelers is Travelers Health: Yellow Book: Measles which describes the occurrence, risk factors, signs and symptoms, prevention and treatment of measles. Besides, there are various materials available to the healthcare workers. Some of these include Surveillance Manual-Chapter 7: Measles which offers current guidelines for the persons who take part in the surveillance of vaccine-preventable disorders, especially researchers at the health department. Other resources include Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases: Measles which gives a description of the Paramyxovirus, clinical characteristics, laboratory diagnosis, pathogenesis, complications, occurrence, secular trends, measles vaccine, transmission, and classifications of measles cases, vaccination and associated adverse reactions, precautions to measles vaccine, contraindications among others.
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused by Paramyxovirus. Some of the common symptoms include coughing, running nose, red eyes, fever, Koplik’s spots and increased sensitivity to light. All physicians should obtain a throat swab and a serum sample from persons suspected to have measles infections in their first contact with such patients because these are some of the surest ways of testing measles. Other methods include testing urine and respiratory samples.