For most of us, the infection seems like a thing of the past; something that only affected kids in the early to mid-1900s before vaccines were properly developed and administered.
But recent reports prove that’s very much not the case.
There has been a rise in the number of measles infections in South East Asian countries like The Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia this year and those outbreaks are having a flow on effect for countries like Australia.
In the first few months of 2014, at least 14 teenagers and young adults from NSW who had been traveling in the aforementioned countries caught measles and brought the disease back home.
Measles is spread when a person who is infected breathes, coughs or sneezes on another person. According to NSW Health, “the time from exposure to becoming sick is usually about 10 days,” but a person with measles can pass on the infection in the days before symptoms begin.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this series of posts is sponsored by NSW Health. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100 per cent authentic and written in their own words.
While most people will recover from the infection, measles still has the potential to be fatal.
Worldwide 164,000 people died after being infected with measles in 2008.
Measles symptoms initially include fever, tiredness, cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and feeling unwell, but after a few days a rash that lasts for up to seven days and usually covers the whole body appears.
And about a third of all measles cases develop complications such as ear infections, pneumonia and diarrhoea; around one in 1000 people with measles will develop encephalitis, which is a swelling of the brain.
Full vaccination is highly effective in preventing measles infection.
As Mamamia recently reported, one case of measles in a community can lead to an outbreak if people who aren’t vaccinated properly are exposed to the infection.
That was exactly what happened in the US state of Minnesota in 2011 where one outbreak led to the infection of 19 children and two adults.