Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by the measles virus. It spreads and it kills more children than any other childhood diseases. The disease is multi systemic and it is regularly present in some communities. Poverty, overcrowding and large number of unimmunized children often triggers the occurrence of the disease in an epidemic proportion.
How is Measles Virus Transmitted?
Measles can spread in airborne droplets released usually through coughing and sneezing as well as through contact with throats and nose secretions of infected persons airborne transmission can occur even two hours after an infected person has left the room. The disease spread easily where children and infants gather together
What are the Symptoms of Measles?
The symptoms of measles include
A high fever,
Watery eyes and small white spots inside the cheeks.
A few days after the onset of the illness a rash appears and spreads from face and upper neck to the rest of the body.
Loss of appetite and loose stool may also occur.
What are the Complications of Measles Virus?
Other measles complications are:
Treatment of measles requires close attention and may need intensive care if it is complicated.
Prevention of the disease involves immunization of children with measles vaccine by 9 month. Immunization of children is a safe option rather than allowing children to have the disease.
Mumps is an acute viral illness characterized by swelling of the parotid glands (parotitis) located just below and in front of the ear, and at times the salivary glands under the jaws. Commonly called “Segede” by the south western Nigerian (Yoruba’s)
What are the complications/symptoms of Mumps?
In childhood, mumps is one of the leading causes of acquired deafness. Meningitis can also be a complication of mumps. The symptoms of mumps include:
soreness or swelling of the parotid glands on one or both sides,
fever lasting 2-3 days,
soreness of muscles,
Loss of appetite and headache.
In men and adolescent boys swelling of testicles (orchitis) may occur and may cause sterility due to testicular atrophy.
In women, mumps can cause acute inflammation of the ovaries.
Rubella, commonly called German measles is characterized by a rash and swelling of the glands behind the ears. It is caused by the rubella virus which is usually transmitted by droplets from nose or mouth. In pregnant woman the virus can infect the unborn child through the infected woman’s blood stream.
Rubella is generally a mild disease but the primary medical danger of rubella is the infection of pregnant women because it causes congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) in the unborn child which can result in mental impairment and can as well cause heart and ear defects.
Rubella infection may begin with 1-2 days of mild and swollen, tender lymph nodes, usually in the back of the neck or behind the ears. A rash then starts on the face and spreads downward to the body. As it spreads it usually clears on the face
The rubella rash can look like many other viral rashes. It appears as a pink or light red spots, which may converge to form evenly coloured patches. The rash can as well result into itching which can last up to 3 days.
MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) VACCINE
The MMR vaccine is a “3-in-1” vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella which are potentially serious diseases in childhood.
The measles vaccination is given at nine months of age. Some children however do not develop adequate antibodies at this early age and a repeat vaccine is recommended preferably as combined MMR. Every child needs 2 doses of measles vaccine.
Combined MMR vaccine is given by a single injection at between 12-15 months of age.
It is important to get your child immunized against measles, mumps and rubella.
Reviewed on 10/4/2020
Abraham Tanimowo is a child development and family studies specialist. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the Federal university of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB). He is presently undergoing a postgraduate study in Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria with the aim of obtaining a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. He also has professional certification in project management as well as in health safety and environment
He is a young, smart and strategic individual with a great passion for public health and family life research with a special focus on the health, education and social well-being of children, adolescents and mothers.