AskDefine | Define measles

Dictionary Definition

measles n : an acute and highly contagious viral disease marked by distinct red spots followed by a rash; occurs primarily in children [syn: rubeola, morbilli]

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English

Pronunciation

Noun

measles
  1. Rubeola, an acute highly contagious disease, (often of childhood) caused by a virus, featuring fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and a spreading skin rash
  2. Any of several other similar diseases, such as German measles

Translations

acute highly contagious disease
any of similar contagious diseases

Extensive Definition

Measles, also known as rubeola, is a disease caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus.
Measles is spread through respiration (contact with fluids from an infected person's nose and mouth, either directly or through aerosol transmission), and is highly contagious—90% of people without immunity sharing a house with an infected person will catch it. Airborne precautions should be taken for all suspected cases of measles.
The incubation period usually lasts for 4–12 days (during which there are no symptoms). Infected people remain contagious from the appearance of the first symptoms until 3–5 days after the rash appears.
Reports of measles go as far back to at least 600 B.C. however, the first scientific description of the disease and its distinction from smallpox is attributed to the Persian physician Ibn Razi (Rhazes) 860-932 who published a book entitled "The Book of Smallpox and Measles" (in Arabic: Kitab fi al-jadari wa-al-hasbah). In roughly the last 150 years, measles has been estimated to have killed about 200 million people worldwide. In 1954, the virus causing the disease was isolated from an 11-year old boy from the US, David Edmonston, and adapted and propagated on chick embryo tissue culture. To date, 21 strains of the measles virus have been identified. Licensed vaccines to prevent the disease became available in 1963.
German measles is an unrelated condition caused by the rubella virus.

Symptoms

The classical symptoms of measles include a fever for at least three days, the three Cs—cough, coryza (runny nose) and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The fever may reach up to 40° Celsius (104° Fahrenheit). Koplik's spots seen inside the mouth are pathognomonic (diagnostic) for measles but are not often seen, even in real cases of measles, because they are transient and may disappear within a day of arising.
The characteristic measles rash is classically described as a generalized, maculopapular, erythematous rash that begins several days after the fever starts. It starts on the head before spreading to cover most of the body, often causing itching. The rash is said to "stain", changing colour from red to dark brown, before disappearing.

Diagnosis and treatment

Clinical diagnosis of measles requires a history of fever of at least three days together with at least one of the three Cs. Observation of Koplik's spots is also diagnostic of measles.
Alternatively, laboratory diagnosis of measles can be done with confirmation of positive measles IgM antibodies or isolation of measles virus RNA from respiratory specimens. In cases of measles infection following secondary vaccine failure IgM antibody may not be present. In these cases serological confirmation may be made by showing IgG antibody rises by Enzyme immunoasay or complement fixation. In children, where phlebotomy is inappropriate, saliva can be collected for salivary measles specific IgA test.
Positive contact with other patients known to have measles adds strong epidemiological evidence to the diagnosis.
There is no specific treatment or antiviral therapy for uncomplicated measles. Most patients with uncomplicated measles will recover with rest and supportive treatment.
Some patients will develop pneumonia as a sequela to the measles. Histologically, a unique cell can be found in the paracortical region of hyperplastic lymph nodes in patients affected with this condition. This cell, known as the Warthin-Finkeldey cell, is a multinucleated giant with eosinophilic cytoplasmic and nuclear inclusions.

Transmission

The measles is a highly contagious airborne pathogen which spreads primarily via the respiratory system. The virus is transmitted in respiratory secretions, and can be passed from person to person via aerosol droplets containing virus particles, such as those produced by a coughing patient. Once transmission occurs, the virus infects the epithelial cells of its new host, and may also replicate in the urinary tract, lymphatic system, conjunctivae, blood vessels, and central nervous system.
Patients with the measles should be placed on droplet precautions.
Humans are the only known natural hosts of measles, although the virus can infect some non-human primate species.

Complications

Complications with measles are relatively common, ranging from relatively mild and less serious diarrhea, to pneumonia and encephalitis (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis), corneal ulceration leading to corneal scarring Complications are usually more severe amongst adults who catch the virus.
The fatality rate from measles for otherwise healthy people in developed countries is low: approximately 1 death per thousand cases. In underdeveloped nations with high rates of malnutrition and poor healthcare, fatality rates of 10 percent are common. In immunocompromised patients, the fatality rate is approximately 30 percent.

Public health

Measles is a significant infectious disease because, while the rate of complications is not high, the disease itself is so infectious that the sheer number of people who would suffer complications in an outbreak amongst non-immune people would quickly overwhelm available hospital resources. If vaccination rates fall, the number of non-immune persons in the community rises, and the risk of an outbreak of measles consequently rises.
In developed countries, most children are immunized against measles by the age of 18 months, generally as part of a three-part MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, and rubella). The vaccination is generally not given earlier than this because children younger than 18 months usually retain anti-measles immunoglobulins (antibodies) transmitted from the mother during pregnancy. A "booster" vaccine is then given between the ages of four and five. Vaccination rates have been high enough to make measles relatively uncommon. Even a single case in a college dormitory or similar setting is often met with a local vaccination program, in case any of the people exposed are not already immune. In developing countries, measles remains common.
Unvaccinated populations are at risk for the disease. After vaccination rates dropped in northern Nigeria in the early 2000s due to religious and political objections, the number of cases rose significantly, and hundreds of children died. A 2005 measles outbreak in Indiana was attributed to children whose parents refused vaccination. In the early 2000s the MMR vaccine controversy in the United Kingdom regarding a potential link between the combined MMR vaccine (vaccinating children from mumps, measles and rubella) and autism prompted a comeback in the measles party, where parents deliberately infect the child with measles to build up the child's immunity without an injection. This practice poses many health risks to the child, and has been discouraged by the public health authorities. Scientific evidence provides no support for the hypothesis that MMR plays a role in causing autism. Declining immunisation rates in the UK are the probable cause of a significant increase of cases of measles, 2006 being the highest on record, and 2007 already showing an increase on the previous year.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is a leading cause of vaccine preventable childhood mortality. Worldwide, the fatality rate has been significantly reduced by partners in the Measles Initiative: the American Red Cross, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). Globally, measles deaths are down 60 percent, from an estimated 873,000 deaths in 1999 to 345,000 in 2005. Africa has seen the most success, with annual measles deaths falling by 75 percent in just 5 years, from an estimated 506,000 to 126,000.

Recent Outbreaks

Indigenous measles were declared to have been eliminated in North, Central, and South America; the last endemic case in the region was reported on November 12, 2002. Outbreaks are still occurring, however, following importations of measles viruses from other world regions. In June 2006, there was an outbreak in Boston which resulted from a resident who had recently visited India. In 2007, the country Japan has become a nidus for measles. Japan has suffered a record number of cases, and a number of universities and other institutions in the country have closed in an attempt to contain the outbreak.Major oubrreak of measles was registred in the begining of 2008 in Israel. There were about 1000 cases of the decease since August 2007 and till May 2008 (in sharp contrast to just some dozen cases year before). Majority of infected are children from ultra-Orthodox families which refused vacination. In Michigan in the fall of 2007, a confirmed case of measles occurred in a girl who had been vaccinated and who apparently contracted it overseas. There were at least 6 other suspected cases, all among children who had been vaccinated. There was outbreak having originated in Switzerland which has spread to countries such as Austria and the United States. Between January 1 and April 25, 2008, a total of 64 confirmed measles cases were preliminarily reported in the United States to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,, the most reported by this date for any year since 2001. Of the 64 cases, 54 were associated with importation of measles from other countries into the United States, and 63 of the 64 patients were unvaccinated or had unknown or undocumented vaccination status.
The largest outbreak in the United States so far this year is underway in Pima County, Arizona. 21 cases have been confirmed as of May 17, 2008. The outbreak began in mid-February. All Physicians and health care employees are now being required to be vaccinated. The outbreak has spread into Pinal County, Arizona where one infant has contracted the virus. The host carrier has been identified and all of the 22 people who have the measles in Arizona have been linked together.

External links

measles in Afrikaans: Masels
measles in Arabic: حصبة
measles in Guarani: Sarapĩu
measles in Aymara: Piyampiya usu
measles in Catalan: Xarampió
measles in Czech: Spalničky
measles in Danish: Mæslinger
measles in German: Masern
measles in Estonian: Leetrid
measles in Spanish: Sarampión
measles in Esperanto: Morbilo
measles in Persian: سرخک
measles in French: Rougeole
measles in Galician: Sarampelo
measles in Indonesian: Demam Campak
measles in Italian: Morbillo
measles in Hebrew: חצבת
measles in Kurdish: Sorik (nexweşî)
measles in Latin: Morbillus
measles in Luxembourgish: Riedelen
measles in Hungarian: Kanyaró
measles in Dutch: Mazelen
measles in Japanese: 麻疹
measles in Norwegian: Meslinger
measles in Polish: Odra (choroba)
measles in Portuguese: Sarampo
measles in Romanian: Rujeolă
measles in Russian: Корь
measles in Slovak: Ružienka
measles in Finnish: Tuhkarokko
measles in Swedish: Mässling
measles in Telugu: తట్టు
measles in Thai: โรคหัด
measles in Vietnamese: Sởi
measles in Turkish: Kızamık
measles in Ukrainian: Кір
measles in Chinese: 痲疹

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

African lethargy, Asiatic cholera, Chagres fever, German measles, Haverhill fever, acute articular rheumatism, ague, alkali disease, amebiasis, amebic dysentery, anthrax, bacillary dysentery, bastard measles, black death, black fever, blackwater fever, breakbone fever, brucellosis, bubonic plague, cachectic fever, cerebral rheumatism, chicken pox, cholera, cowpox, dandy fever, deer fly fever, dengue, dengue fever, diphtheria, dumdum fever, dysentery, elephantiasis, encephalitis lethargica, enteric fever, erysipelas, famine fever, five-day fever, flu, frambesia, glandular fever, grippe, hansenosis, hepatitis, herpes, herpes simplex, herpes zoster, histoplasmosis, hookworm, hydrophobia, infantile paralysis, infectious mononucleosis, inflammatory rheumatism, influenza, jail fever, jungle rot, kala azar, kissing disease, lepra, leprosy, leptospirosis, loa loa, loaiasis, lockjaw, madness, malaria, malarial fever, marsh fever, meningitis, milzbrand, mumps, ornithosis, osteomyelitis, paratyphoid fever, parotitis, parrot fever, pertussis, pneumonia, polio, poliomyelitis, polyarthritis rheumatism, ponos, psittacosis, rabbit fever, rabies, rat-bite fever, relapsing fever, rheumatic fever, rickettsialpox, ringworm, rubella, rubeola, scarlatina, scarlet fever, schistosomiasis, septic sore throat, shingles, sleeping sickness, sleepy sickness, smallpox, snail fever, splenic fever, spotted fever, strep throat, swamp fever, tetanus, thrush, tinea, trench fever, trench mouth, tuberculosis, tularemia, typhoid, typhoid fever, typhus, typhus fever, undulant fever, vaccinia, varicella, variola, venereal disease, viral dysentery, whooping cough, yaws, yellow fever, yellow jack, zona, zoster
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