Non-childish problems: what is the danger of measles in adults
Although it is considered a childhood infection, measles may well affect an adult. Is an adult likely to get infected? Should he be vaccinated against the disease? How to understand that it is measles, and not flu, for example? And what is the danger of measles?
Which way can I get infected?
Measles virus (its causative agent) is transmitted only by airborne droplets: it is released into the air by patients during coughing, sneezing and even breathing and gets on the mucous membranes of the nose and oral cavity of others. A virus can exist only in the human body, so you cannot get infected through household items.
Measles is a highly contagious disease. Doctors determine its so-called contagiousness index at 95%. What does it mean? Out of a hundred people who are susceptible to measles, 95 will become infected by contact with the patient.
Who is immune to measles?
To this infection, immunity is developed either during vaccination, or after a person has been ill.
Measles vaccination is included in the vaccination calendar, it is given to children twice: at one year and at six years of age. Vaccination will protect the body for 10-15 years. Then its action is weakened.
Can an adult get measles if he was vaccinated as a child? Yes, it can, but this happens infrequently. It all depends on the individual characteristics of the body. Someone will have a childhood vaccine for their whole life, while another may well become infected. But even so, he will suffer the disease more easily than one who has not been vaccinated at all.
The vaccine is valid for 15 years, then it is useless
Stronger immunity remains after the disease. In the vast majority of cases, those who encountered measles in childhood do not get sick with it. An exception is people with immunodeficiency conditions.
So, at risk are:
people who have not been vaccinated in childhood and who have not had measles;
vaccinated in childhood, but their immunity to measles is significantly weakened over time;
people with immunodeficiency conditions.
What does measles look like in adults
The disease develops and proceeds, as in children, but only in a more severe form. Measles has an incubation period: from infection to the appearance of the first signs in an adult, one to three weeks pass. But by the end of the period, a person becomes infectious.
The initial symptoms of measles in an adult are similar to signs of a respiratory infection (SARS, flu):
deterioration of health, weakness;
a sharp jump in temperature, with a severe course of the disease – up to 39 degrees;
runny nose, cough;
hypersensitivity to light, lacrimation.
in severe cases, vomiting, convulsions, shortness of breath occur.
After a few days, a characteristic measles rash appears – small pink spots. The rash begins with the face, the neck and the area behind the ears are also affected. On the 2nd day, the rash passes to the arms and trunk, on the 3rd day to the legs.
With measles, the temperature rises
The spots can merge, gradually they darken, the temperature drops.
Then the spots turn pale, the skin begins to peel off – recovery begins.
From the appearance of the rash to its disappearance, about 2 weeks pass.
Measles can be distinguished from respiratory infections before the rash appears by the so-called Belsky-Filatov-Koplik spots. These are small whitish spots in the mouth – on the gums, the inside of the cheeks and lips, the palate.
What is the danger of measles in adults?
In addition to the fact that this childhood illness is very difficult in adults, the effects of measles can be quite serious.
The thing is that the virus, once in the body, affects the cells of the immune system, as a result, the immunity is weakened. And this is the probability of joining a secondary infection, while any organs can be affected:
bronchi and lungs – respectively the development of bronchitis, bronchopneumonia and pneumonia; measles pneumonia is especially dangerous. It proceeds very hard, with high fever, vomiting, purulent lung damage;
upper respiratory tract – diseases of ENT organs, including acute purulent otitis media and eustachiitis – inflammation of the auditory tube, which may result in deafness;
digestive organs – pancreatitis, enterocolitis, etc .;
central nervous system – meningitis, encephalomyelitis, epilepsy;
kidneys – pyelonephritis;
pregnant women have a risk of miscarriage, malformations, missed pregnancy.
How to prevent measles?
An effective way to prevent the disease is vaccination. You can be vaccinated and adults. They are vaccinated twice with an interval of 6 months. After vaccination, the protection lasts at least 12 years.
Who should be vaccinated?
Those who did not have measles and were not vaccinated in childhood.
Those who were not sick and do not remember whether he was vaccinated in childhood.
You can find out if you have immunity to measles by taking an antibody test for the virus.