The measles cases in the US reached record numbers. For the first five months of 2019, 971 measles cases were reported. According to the CDC this is the highest number in 27 years.
More than half the country has reported cases. The greatest source for this year’s surging cases is New York, where Rockland County and New York City have been battling outbreaks for nearly eight months.
What exactly is the Measles?
The disease spreads through the air by respiratory droplets produced from coughing or sneezing. Measles symptoms don’t appear until 10 to 14 days after exposure. They include cough, runny nose, inflamed eyes, sore throat, fever, and a red, blotchy skin rash.
What is the Treatment?
Unfortunately, there is no treatment to get rid of an established measles infection, but over-the-counter fever reducers or vitamin A may help with symptoms.
Why the Concern?
In the year 2,000 the US had zero reported cases of the measles. The CDC is concerned because there are can be complications including:
- Dehydration from diarrhea and vomiting
- Middle ear infection
- Eye infection
- Inflammation of the voice box
- Infections of the airways and lungs (such as pneumonia, bronchitis and croup)
- Seizures from high fever
Though rare, the measles can cause:
- Liver infection
- Misalignment of the eyes if the virus affects the nerves and muscles of the eye
- Infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This can lead to meningitis or encephalitis; both of which can be deadly,
How does the measles spread?
- By mother to baby by pregnancy, labor, or nursing
- By coughs or sneezes (airborne)
- By kissing or sharing drinks (saliva)
- By handshakes or hugs (skin to skin)
- By touching a contaminated surface (blanket or doorknob).