News Politics The Economy Health Education The
Monday, October 08, 2012
Published August 29, 2012
“Georgia had a measles scare”
The measles virus is easy to catch, painful to have, but not so
difficult to get rid of. On July 3, 2012, the Georgia Department of Public Health
released a press release titled, “Health officials investigating measles
infection: People with symptoms
urged to contact healthcare provider,” warning individuals about a possible
measles outbreak. The disease was
detected in an individual who resides in Atlanta.
The Georgia Department of Public Health and the Clayton County Board of
Health advised individuals to contact their physician if they were having
symptoms (running nose, cough, or fever) associated with the measles virus.
Those individuals who developed a body rash between July 3, 2012, and
July 18, 2012, were encouraged to immediately contact their local physician.
to the CDC, the measles is associated with the rubeola virus.
Two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is needed in
order to provide complete protection against the virus.
Without the MMR vaccine, a person has a 90% chance of contracting the
virus if he is in close contact with an infected individual.
Once the virus enters the body, it takes up station in the mucus of the
nose or throat. And whenever an
infected person sneezes or coughs, he spreads the disease in the air.
A person who has not received his immunization will contract the disease
by way of the air he breathes. So
if an individual is just out and about at the mall or park, he can contract the
disease from an infected person. A
person can also contract the virus by touching a surface like a counter or door
that an infected individual has touched. According
to the CDC, the virus can only survive on a surface for two hours.
After two hours on a surface, the virus ceases to exist.
Initially, an infected person may not know he has the virus.
According to the CDC, it takes between 7-14 days for the symptoms to
appear. And once the early symptoms appear, they are not identifiable
to the point that they can be easily associated with the measles virus.
The early symptoms are coughing, a running nose, and a sore throat.
These symptoms are also symptoms of the common cold.
So an infected person may be more incline to go to the drug store for a
bottle of Nyquil, and not to the doctor’s office for two doses of the MMR
vaccine. However, the symptoms
become more pronounce as they progress. As
a result, the infected person’s outward appearance begins to look more like
what the general public would associate with the measles virus.
infected person looks worn out, has red swollen watery eyes, and Koplik spots.
According to the CDC, Koplik spots are located inside the infected
person’s mouth. The spots have a
small white outside, with a bluish white center.
A red or reddish-brown rash is the last symptom to appear.
The rash first appears on the face, at the person’s hairline, and the
rash progresses down to the feet. Also,
an individual with the rash could have an elevated temperature that reaches 104º
Fahrenheit. Although the virus can
be treated with the MMR vaccine, a person could easily get permanent brain
damage and die before he receives the treatment.
Specifically, the CDC notes that children tend to die from pneumonia,
which is a complication of the measles virus.
Further, the CDC estimates that 30% of individuals who are infected will
develop a complication from the measles virus.
The other complications include an ear infection, diarrhea, and
encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). The
complications occur more often in children under the age of 5 and adults over
the age of 20.
to the CDC, ear infections represent 10% of the cases and could result in a loss
of hearing. Diarrhea makes up about
8% of the cases. The number of
cases associated with encephalitis is very small, but the effect is great and
evident in the impact on children and pregnant women.
According to the CDC, 0.1% of children infected with the measles virus
get encephalitis. Those who get
encephalitis could have convulsions, lose their hearing, or mental retardation
could occur. A pregnant woman who
has encephalitis could have a premature birth, a baby born underweight, or a
miscarriage. Therefore, individuals
who recognized any early signs of the measles virus are encouraged to seek
medical attention immediately in order to decrease the risk of having any of the
complications associated with the virus.
Georgia Department of Public Health quoted Dr. J. Patrick O’Neal, who is the
Director of Health Protection at the Georgia Department of Public Health, as
saying, “Vaccination in the U.S. has been tremendous and most of us have no
risk of measles infection. And even
for the small number of those who are not vaccinated or immune to measles,
chance of infection is very small.” The
measles infection rate is low in the U.S. because of the country’s access to
the MMR vaccine. In fact, many
states require that children be vaccinated before they enter childcare or
kindergarten. According to the CDC,
children receive the first dose when they’re between 12-15 months, and the
second dose comes 4 weeks after they receive the first dose.
Also, the second dose can be given when the child is between the ages of
4-6 years old. Adults who are 19
and older receive one or two doses of the vaccine.
However, outside factors like stress, job, and lifestyle can affect a
person’s body response to the virus and vaccine. Therefore, the CDC recommends that adults consult with their
physician to see if any other preventive measures should be taken.
to the CDC, one of the main ways in which U.S. citizens contract the disease is
by going overseas to countries with a high infection rate.
For instance, India is a country with a high infection rate.
The CDC estimates that there are approximately 164,000 deaths each year
and that more than half of those deaths occur in India.
The CDC recommends that adults and children get vaccinated if they are
traveling overseas. The recommended
dosage for adults is one or two, but they should consult with their physician to
see if any other dosage is required. Infants
who are between 6-11 months old need at least one dose of the MMR vaccine.
Children who are between one year old or older need two doses of the
vaccine. The CDC states that the 2nd
dose should be given 28 days after the 1st dose.
It must be noted that the Georgia Department of Public Health had not yet
released information about how the individual contracted the disease.
An important fact the CDC mentions about measles is that it is a human
disease and has not been found in animals.
So humans can only contract the disease by-way of other humans.