Measles (Rubeola) on Rampage at All Ages
Measles does not only infect children. Today, hospital records show that huge numbers of adolescents and adults are infected by measles. What is happening?
About 10 years of hospital records indicate measles among adults, and they are increasing dramatically. We thought that measles was one of children's infectious diseases, but measles can actually infect all ages, and the disease is really increasing worldwide!
When an adult catches measles, a serious illness rather than the symptoms of measles itself may appear which should not be overlooked.
In Japan alone, thousands of children have died of measles from the last 50 years. Even now, several dozens of children have died every year due to complications with measles, which have been relatively common.
Why do we fear measles? Most of us think that once we are infected by measles, our body will develop antibodies and we will be immune from it for a lifetime. But, did you know that the virus can silently infect human lymphocytes, which is an important cell class in the immune system that produces antibodies? Because of this, there are times when complication occurs such as pneumonia and encephalitis, which might cause even death. There are also times when the nervous system is affected and paralysis occurs.
Actually, there is no medicine that kills the measles virus directly. Most patients will recover with supportive treatment and rest.
One of the most dangerous cases is when a patient infected by measles is in the state of pregnancy. Besides, measles among adults are more difficult to detect. Most adults infected by measles think that they only have fever, and they usually just take commonly available antipyretic medicines. They also think that the red spots around their body are side effects of medicines.
Did you know that vaccination is only good for about 10 years? Immunity may be lowered or disappear over time. It is also wise to do an antibody titer at your nearby clinic to measure the presence and amount of antibodies in your blood.
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