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9 Mar 2011
School
Department
Course
Plagues and Peoples
Course Reader: Measles (Rubella)
November 9, 2010.
- Measles is also known as rubeola, hard measles, red measles, 9-day measles, morbilli, hasbah is a common,
acute, viral infectious disease, principally of children.
- Symptoms: Fever, typical red, blotchy rash combined with cough, coryza (common cold), or conjunctivitis
(pink eye).
- A vaccine-preventable disease, and its vaccine is one of the vaccines included in the Expanded Programme
on Immunication (EPI) of the WHO.
Etiology and Epidemiology
- Measles is caused by a virus which is in the genus Morbillivirus of the family Paramyxoviridae.
- One of the most highly communicable diseases, transmitted by contact of susceptible individuals with the
nose and throat secretions of infected persons primarily by droplet spread.
- Infection also occurs by direct and indirect contact through freshly soiled articles and airborne
transmission.
- No reservoirs of measles other than human beings.
- Period of communicability is from slightly before onset of symptoms (prodromal phase) to 4 days after the
start of the rash.
- Incubation period from time of exposure to onset of fever of about 10 days with a range from 8 to 13 days.
- The incubation period from time of exposure to rash onset is about 14 days.
- Primarily an endemic disease of children (highest for under 2 years of age).
- Epidemic measles has a winter-spring seasonality in temperate climates and a less marked hot-dry
seasonality in equatorial regions.
- No racial or gender differences.
- Measles mortality is highest in the very young and very old.
- Fatality rate of 5 10 % or more in malnourished children in developing countries.
Distribution and Incidence
- Measles distributed worldwide.
- Estimated 50 million cases and 1.5 million deaths caused annually by measles in developing countries.
Immunology
- Infants usually have a passive immunity to measles as a result of maternal antibodies acquired
transplacentally from immune mothers. This protects the child for 6 9 months.
- Measles infection induces a lifelong immunity.
- Methods for confirming infection and immunity: serological tests, fluorescent antibody techniques, and
isolation of the virus from patients during the acute phase of the disease.
- A single dose of live attenuated measles virus vaccine confers long-term, probably lifelong, immunity in
over 95 percent of susceptible individuals.
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Document Summary

Measles is also known as rubeola, hard measles, red measles, 9-day measles, morbilli, hasbah is a common, acute, viral infectious disease, principally of children. Symptoms: fever, typical red, blotchy rash combined with cough, coryza (common cold), or conjunctivitis (pink eye). A vaccine-preventable disease, and its vaccine is one of the vaccines included in the expanded programme on immunication (epi) of the who. Measles is caused by a virus which is in the genus morbillivirus of the family paramyxoviridae. One of the most highly communicable diseases, transmitted by contact of susceptible individuals with the nose and throat secretions of infected persons primarily by droplet spread. Infection also occurs by direct and indirect contact through freshly soiled articles and airborne transmission. No reservoirs of measles other than human beings. Period of communicability is from slightly before onset of symptoms (prodromal phase) to 4 days after the start of the rash.

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