Measles have arrived in NC

  • Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 1:19 a.m.

Unfortunately, measles is finally here in North Carolina. The index case developed the illness following a trip to India.

Measles is a serious and potentially deadly viral infection that I have yet to see in my 21 years of medical work.

It is spread by contact with droplets from an infected person’s nose, mouth or throat. Sneezing and coughing can aerosolize the droplets and increase the range of infectious spread.

Symptoms usually develop eight to 10 days following exposure.

Measles presents with fever, rash, cough, myalgias, sore throat and conjunctivitis. Children often look very sick. The illness can be mild or severe.

Some children go on to get encephalitis, a brain inflammatory disorder that can be deadly. It occurs in one in 1,000 cases of measles. Other complications include pneumonia, ear infections and sinusitis.

Measles is very dangerous for pregnant women. It can cause premature birth and miscarriage. 

Since I have never seen this disease, I am avidly reviewing the pictures and clinical history.

I encourage those with unvaccinated children to seriously reconsider their position on the vaccine or at least know what the illness looks like. Go to Google images and look at the rash and Koplik spots, which are pathognomonic for the illness. 

Measles is not treatable, but you can take Vitamin A as prescribed by your physician to help with the illness or potentially prevent it.

If you have a known exposure, seek medical help for possible vaccination or immune globulin therapy. Those especially at high risk include pregnant women, infants and people with weakened immune systems.

From the desk of Megan Davies, state epidemiologist:

“Any patient presenting with a febrile rash illness should be immediately isolated, using airborne isolation precautions if possible.” 

“Unvaccinated persons who have been exposed to a person with measles should be advised to stay home for 21 days from the last exposure and limit contact with others to avoid spreading the illness.”

Dr. Chris Magryta is a pediatrician at Salisbury Pediatric Associates.

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