Measles, also known as Red Measles or Rubeola, is a serious disease caused by a virus. It is spread very easily through the air when someone with measles coughs or sneezes and by direct contact with infected nose or throat secretions.
Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has measles can get the disease. The chance of getting measles is reduced if you have been immunized against.
The best way to prevent measles is to make sure that you and your children have been vaccinated. This vaccine is publicly funded for the following groups:
Avoid close contact with someone who has measles if you have not had measles or measles vaccine. Generally, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine should not be given during pregnancy, as there may be a risk to the fetus. You can still get MMR vaccine if you are in close contact or live with a pregnant woman. The MMR vaccine is safe for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
Immune Globulin (IG) is recommended for pregnant women who have been exposed to measles but who have not had measles or measles vaccine. IG is given by needle and can provide quick, short-term protection against measles, or reduces the severity of illness of those who become ill.
Symptoms start about 10 days after a person is infected with the virus. Infants and adults are usually sicker than children and teenagers.
Measles usually starts with a fever, cough, runny nose and red, puffy, watery eyes. Small, white spots may be seen in the mouth. A few days later, a red rash appears on the face and head, and then spreads over the rest of the body. The rash lasts 4 to 7 days.
There is no treatment for measles. Sometimes the measles vaccine is given to people who have been in contact with a person with measles. If the vaccine is given early enough, it may prevent the person from getting the disease. If you have been in contact with someone you know has measles, call your doctor or Public Health Services right away. If you suspect that you have measles, advise your doctor or health care provider before you visit their office.
Most people recover from measles. Measles can cause serious complications in 20 percent of cases including ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling or inflammation of the brain), seizures, and deafness. In Canada, measles causes death in approximately 1 out of every 3,000 cases.
When measles occurs in pregnant women, the illness is generally not any more severe than in other women. However, measles infection during pregnancy has an increased risk of premature labour, miscarriage, and low birth weight infants. There is no evidence that measles during pregnancy causes birth defects.
Limit contact with others until you speak with a health-care provider. Do not go to school, work, or any public places. Do not take part in social activities. Call your health-care provider immediately. Tell them that you may have measles and make an appointment. It is important you are seen and that proper testing is done. If you are diagnosed with measles, you should stay home from work, school, public places and other social settings. Avoid close contact with others for 4 days after the rash appears. The illness can be spread to others from 4 days before to four days after the start of the rash. To avoid spreading disease: