Measles and recognition of a highly contagious disease: Measles is not the first symptom

– Pneumonia, inflammation of the middle ear, diarrhea, inflammation of the brain and loss of vision can occur as a complication of smallpox – he warns in an interview with the eKlinika portal prim. M.Sc. honey Dr. Slavica Maris, epidemiology specialist

Measles (measles) are unfortunately not entirely unexpectedly in the focus of the public. Two cases have been confirmed in Serbia, and experts continue to appeal to citizens: vaccination is the most effective form of prevention and prevention of complications.

Smallpox is extremely contagious: What do the first symptoms look like and what are Koplik spots?

Smallpox is an extremely contagious viral disease, he reminds in an interview with eClinic portal prim. M.Sc. honey Dr. Slavica Marisepidemiology specialist and head of the Unit for Infectious Diseases at the City Institute for Public Health Belgrade and emphasizes:

– The symptoms of the beginning of the disease may resemble the signs of some other respiratory infection. Usually there is an elevated temperature, sore throat, increased secretion from the nose, sometimes vomiting. What is specific is the appearance of white point changes on the mucous membrane of the oral cavity, which we call Koplik’s spots. Two to four days after the appearance of the first symptoms, there is a jump in body temperature (over 40C) and the appearance of maculopapular smallpox, first on the face, behind the ears and on the neck, which then descends on other parts of the body. Conjunctivitis (watery, red eyes, swollen eyelids) is often present.

What is the difference between smallpox and chickenpox

It is this smallpox that distinguishes smallpox from the disease with which it is often mistakenly identified, chickenpox (chickenpox). According to Dr. Maris, measles characteristic of chicken pox appears in bursts, it is vesicular (changes on the skin are followed by the appearance of bubbles), which is not the case with small pox.

Possible complications in children and adults

According to the interlocutor of our portal, complications are more common in children under 5 years old and in adults over 30 years old.

– As a complication of smallpox, pneumonia, inflammation of the middle ear, diarrhea, inflammation of the brain and loss of vision can occur. Pneumonia occurs in every 20th affected person. About 60 percent of deaths are due to this complication. One in 1,000 sufferers get brain inflammation. Complications lead to an average of one death per 1,000 affected children in developed countries. In less developed countries, this rate is many times higher and out of 100 patients, 3-5 people will die – warns prim. M.Sc. honey Dr. Slavica Maris.

A message to parents: The risks of avoiding and not covering vaccinations are huge

Vaccination coverage with the MMR vaccine is unsatisfactory, and was especially low during the covid 19 pandemic.

Dr. Maris also gives us the numbers. They say that coverage with the first dose of the vaccine, which is given in the second year of life, in 2021 was 69 percent. In 2022, it was slightly higher, at 82 percent, and preliminary data for 2023 further record a slight improvement in coverage – 88 percent. It is similar with the second dose of vaccine, which is given before starting school.

However, as stated by the head of the Unit for Infectious Diseases at the City Institute for Public Health in Belgrade it is still insufficient to avoid an epidemic spread.

Vaccination is the most effective measure to prevent measles and prevent complications

– The recommended vaccination coverage to avoid such situations should be 95 percent. The most important and effective measure of measles prevention is vaccination. As long as immunization coverage of at least 95 percent is not achieved, there is a risk of an epidemic occurrence of this disease, and therefore more frequent occurrences of complications that can lead to death – she told the eKlinika portal prim. M.Sc. honey Dr. Slavica Marisspecialist in epidemiology.

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