images-73By The About.com Team
With recent measles outbreaks making headlines, we thought it would be helpful to gather some facts about measles from our network of Experts on pediatricsinfectious diseases and dermatology.  The goal – to keep you informed about the disease, how it’s spread, how it’s treated, and what you can do to prevent it. 

Here are 6 things you need to know about measles. 

Measles can be prevented through vaccination

 

Measles are one of 10 diseases that have been controlled or eradicated by vaccines. It was also one of the deadliest: the CDC estimates that worldwide, “an estimated 13.8 million deaths were prevented by measles vaccination during 2000–2012”.  Prior to introduction of the measles vaccine in 1963, infection during childhood was nearly 100%, causing the measles virus to be named “the most infectious of microbial agents.”

Measles are highly contagious

 

Measles is a highly contagious infection spread through coughing and sneezing. The infection is contagious 4 days before and 4 days after appearance of the measles rash. The virus can live and remain infectious for up to 2 hours on contaminated surfaces, so hand hygiene is very important in prevention.

Measles breakouts can and do still happen

There have been recent outbreaks all over the United States, mostly among people who have higher than usual risk factors for measles

Measles is noted by the appearance of Koplik spots

 

The measles rash can look like other viral rashes, but someone with measles gets Koplik spots which differentiates this rash from any other.

There is no cure for measles once infected

 

There are no antiviral medications for treating measles. Treatment includes supportive care, such as good nutrition and lots of fluids to prevent dehydration. However, the prognosis for measles in healthy children is usually good.

Vaccines do not cause autism; yet controversy continues

 

In 2008, Paul Offit, M.D. published his book Autism’s False Prophets and concluded that “The science is largely complete. Ten epidemiological studies have shown MMR (measles) vaccine doesn’t cause autism.”

Read full article at the source About.com