The WHO recently issued an alert relating to the resurgence of measles in Europe. Europe is indeed one of the regions where the increase in the number of cases is the most significant, the WHO reports 89,994 cases in 48 European states in the first half of 2019, more than double compared to the same period of last year.
The disease is also considered endemic in France and in eleven other European countries, including Germany. As of August 21, France had no less than 2,381 cases since the start of the year (compared to 2,671 over the same period of 2018). The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the European region is losing ground in efforts to eliminate this highly contagious disease. The number of countries that have sustainably eliminated measles has indeed declined.
Measles is a childhood infection caused by a virus. Measles can be serious, even fatal, for small children. While death rates are falling worldwide, the disease still kills more than 100,000 people a year, most under the age of five.
Signs and symptoms of measles appear about 10 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Signs and symptoms of measles usually include:
- Dry cough
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis)
- Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek
- A rash consisting of flat red spots
Measles: A progression of the infection by stage
Before the most well-known symptoms: skin rash, itching, high fever, the virus progresses silently in the body.
- Infection and incubation: For the first 10 to 14 days after your infection, the measles virus incubates. You have no signs or symptoms of measles during this time.
- Nonspecific signs and symptoms: Measles usually begins with a mild to moderate fever, often accompanied by a persistent cough, runny nose, eye inflammation (conjunctivitis), and sore throat. These symptoms can last for two or three days.
- Acute illness and rash: The rash consists of small red spots, some of which are slightly raised. Spots and bumps in tight clusters give the skin a blotchy appearance. The rash appears on the face first. Over the next few days, the rash spreads down the arms and trunk, then onto the thighs, lower legs, and feet. At the same time, the fever soars, often reaching 40-41 C. The measles rash gradually subsides, disappearing first from the face and finally from the thighs and feet.
- Contagious period: A person with measles can transmit the virus to others for about eight days, starting four days before the rash appears and ending when the rash has been present for four days.
Call your doctor as soon as possible as soon as you or your child have been exposed to measles or if you or your child develop a measles-like rash.
Measles: a highly contagious disease favored by certain factors
About 90% of people exposed to someone infected with the virus will in turn become infected. Measles is a highly contagious disease, when a person with measles coughs, sneezes or talks, infected droplets spread through the air, where other people can inhale them. Infected droplets can also land on a surface where they remain active and contagious for several hours. You can catch the virus by putting your fingers in your mouth or nose or rubbing your eyes after touching the infected surface.
Risk factors for measles include: being unvaccinated. If you have not received the measles vaccine, you are much more likely to develop the disease traveling abroad. If you travel to developing countries, where measles is more common, you are at greater risk of contracting the disease, having a vitamin A deficiency. If your diet does not contain enough vitamin A, you have more risk of developing more serious symptoms and complications.
Measles: complications that can be serious
Measles complications can include:
- Ear infection: One of the most common complications of measles is a bacterial ear infection.
- Bronchitis, laryngitis: Measles can lead to inflammation of the ENT sphere or inflammation of the internal walls that line the main airways of your lungs (bronchi).
- Pneumonia: Pneumonia is a common complication of measles. People with weak immune systems can develop a particularly dangerous and sometimes fatal variety of pneumonia.
- Encephalitis: About 1 in 1,000 people with measles develop a complication called encephalitis. Encephalitis can occur right after measles, or even several months later.
- Pregnancy issues: If you are pregnant, you need to take special precautions to avoid measles as this disease can lead to premature labor, low birth weight and maternal death.
Prevent measles in case of outbreak or known infection:
If someone in your household has measles, take the following precautions to protect your vulnerable family and friends:
- Isolation. Because measles is highly contagious four to four days after the rash breaks out, sufferers should not resume activities that involve them interacting with other people during this time. It may also be necessary to keep non-immune people – siblings, for example – away from the infected person.
- Vaccinate. Make sure people at risk of getting measles get the measles vaccine as soon as possible. This includes infants over 6 months old.
Measles: antiviral and calming essential oils
Pierre Franchomme, international specialist in essential oils recommends some essential oils to fight against measles. In prevention and even during infection, anti-viral immunity must be helped to cope with the measles virus, for this he recommends first of all:
– do not seek to bring down the pride
– take magnesium supplements orally
– monitor the risk of malnutrition
– Mix in a teaspoon of edible oil: HE of ginger: 2 drops + 1 drop of pink berries + 2 drops of black pepper, to be taken twice a day
To quickly soothe the itching: mix 2 drops of geranium essential oil with a liquid fat (eg coconut oil) and apply to pimples.
Links to the WHO site dealing with measles: https://www.who.int/topics/measles/en/