What is Measles?
Measles is a contagious viral infection which is caused by “Measles Virus (MV)”. The genus of MV is “Morbillivirus”. The other name of MV is “Rubeola virus”. This infection is highly contagious and more evident in children. Mostly the infected person recovers from this viral infection. However, people can also die if the case becomes more complicated/ serious. This essay tends to unveil the historical background, general information, symptoms/treatments, and vaccination information of measles.
Measles infection has its historical roots embedded a decade ago. Various researches have been conducted to find the origin and the historical background of the measles infection. This essay includes two different pieces of research which reflect upon the historical origin of the measles virus. According to the research article of “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”, the measles viral infection has its roots in the 9th century. A Persian healthcare provider published his written accounts of measles infection in the 9th century (CDC).
Furthermore, research suggests that during the time between the 11th and 12th centuries, the “rubeola virus” got separated from the “rinderpest virus”. The rinderpest virus is the causative agent of measles in cows. The rinderpest virus has been eliminated from cows with the help of vaccination. The most asserting hypothesis of the emergence of the “rubeola virus” is that people spent too much time with their cows (which were infected by measles) and contracted measles virus (rubeola virus). (Furuse et al.)
After the 18th century, the measles infection got the attention of healthcare providers and scientific researchers. In the first decade of the 19th century, 6000 deaths caused by measles were reported annually. The healthcare providers and scientific researchers worked together and developed the vaccine in 1963 to eradicate measles (A Brief History of Measles).
Measles is a viral infection that spreads through the contaminated air due to coughs or sneezes of the infected person. The most common symptoms of measles are high fever, runny nose, white spots in the mouth, cough, sore throat, rash (red spots), and red watery eyes. These early symptoms appear after 10 to 12 days of exposure to the virus. The early symptoms of measles are cough, watery eyes, and high temperature. After 4 to 5 days of infection and the appearance of early symptoms, the rash or red spots appear on the skin. These red spots first appear on the head and the facial area. Further, this rash spreads on the entire body. These red spots last around 4 to 6 days on the skin. Many serious and complicated cases of measles lead to encephalitis (swelling of the brain), blindness, dehydration, ear infections, or pneumonia. Serious cases are usually found in undernourished children below 5 years and/or adults above the age of 30 years. (Measles)
There is no specific treatment for measles because it’s a viral infection that cannot be treated with antibiotic medicine. However, the infection can be controlled and the severity can be reduced by various medical interventions. It can be prevented if the vaccine shot is given to a person who is exposed to the measles virus within 72 hours. The healthcare providers also suggest various medical interventions and medicines help the patient to recover from measles. Ibuprofen is given to lessen the temperature. The patient should take steam to ease the sore pain in the throat. The patients are suggested to take vitamin A supplements. Rest and adequate fluids are advised to the patient so that he/she could enhance their immune system.
The measles virus was successfully isolated in 1954 by a team of healthcare researchers including Dr. Thomas C. Peebles and John F. Enders. (CDC). After extensive research, John Enders and various other researchers successfully created the vaccine from the “Edmonston-B strain of measles virus” (CDC)
The measles infection can be prevented with the vaccine called “MMR (mumps and rubella)”. The MMR vaccine provides 97% effectiveness in preventing measles if two doses are given with a specific gap. One dose of MMR gives 93% effective results. The first dose should be given at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose in 4 to 6 years of age. According to the CDC report, children and adults should complete their MMR course of two doses for the prevention of measles.
A Brief History of Measles | History of Vaccines. https://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/blog/brief-history-measles. Accessed 9 Dec. 2021.
About Measles Vaccination | CDC. 26 Mar. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/measles/index.html.
CDC. “History of Measles.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 Nov. 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/history.html.
—. “Measles Vaccine.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5 Nov. 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/measles/vaccination.html.
Clinical Significance of Measles: A Review | The Journal of Infectious Diseases | Oxford Academic. https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/189/Supplement_1/S4/823958?login=true. Accessed 9 Dec. 2021.
Furuse, Yuki, et al. “Origin of Measles Virus: Divergence from Rinderpest Virus between the 11th and 12th Centuries.” Virology Journal, vol. 7, Mar. 2010, p. 52. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-422X-7-52.
Measles. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/measles. Accessed 9 Dec. 2021.