Recent Outbreak of Measles in The US: Prevention and Treatment

A recent multi-State outbreak of measles in the United States has infected over a 100 people from 14 States, from the 1st of January 2015 to 31st January, 2015. As per investigations, this outbreak is believed to have a beginning from initial exposure at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. 42 cases have been linked to this outbreak in California, which includes five Disney employees.

Rubeola, commonly known as Measles, is a virus that mostly infects children and infants, but is not uncommon in adults. There is a blood test to diagnose the Measles, but usually the initial symptoms are enough for a qualified medical practitioner to confirm the onset of measles. This includes a runny nose, inflamed eyes, fever (as high at 104 degrees Fahrenheit in severe cases), sore throat, and dry cough. Two of the most predominant symptoms are the characteristic rash (that usually appears on the face and behind the ears at first, and then gradually spreads over the torso and thighs and then the feet) and Koplik's spots (redness on the inner lining of the cheek with white spots having bluish-white centers). Severe cases of measles can be fatal. Almost 100,000 fatalities are reported annually, most of which are of children under the age of 5 years.

Measles is a contagious, airborne disease that affects the immune system, respiratory system and skin. A person with measures can spread the virus during the communicable period of eight days which initiates 4 days before the rash appears and ends 4 days after the rash is visible. An effective way to prevent the spread of measles once it is known that you or a family member is infected is to isolate the infected individual (s) during this period.

Medical advisors suggest that vaccination is the most effective prevention. The MMR Vaccine, which is a measles-containing vaccine, and is injected in two doses (consult your specialist for further guidelines regarding dosage), is 99% effective in preventing spread of the virus.

While there is no treatment which effectively cures measles once an individual is infected, fever reducers such as ibuprofen (easily available over-the-counter) can be taken to relieve the high temperature that enterprises measles. Antibiotics are prescribed if a bacterial infection (ear infection, pneumonia etc.) develops alongside measles. Furthermore, Vitamin A supplements are reportedly said to be helpful in several cases of measles as they visibly reduce symptoms.

Although measles has been practically eliminated from the United States by the introduction of vaccines in 1963, it still is a common disease in other parts of the globe, such as areas in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. International travel is one of the prime reasons for the earthquake of measles outbreaks in the United States. It is advised that particularly before international travel, even more so when traveling to developing countries, all individuals should check with their doctors regarding the need to be vaccinated against measles.