What are some measles complications

Measles complications can be very diverse

11.05.2020

Measles is a viral infection that can damage many different organs in the body. The complications that can follow from the disease can be more diverse and serious than many people know, and range from jaundice to appendicitis and meningitis.

Doctors warned against this in BMJ Case Reports magazine after treating a number of adults with the infection.
Measles is a highly contagious viral infection whose symptoms include fever, cough, conjunctivitis, and a widespread rash all over the body. This disease is preventable because the vaccine used for immunization is safe and very effective.
But over the past few decades, unfounded fears about the vaccine have caused the disease to return to a health threat worldwide, with cases increasing in teenagers and adults, the case report authors point out.
110,000 people worldwide died from measles in 2017. Most of these deaths have occurred in young children.

Risk: Missing or incomplete vaccination in childhood

The experts from Malta had treated three people who were suffering from complications as a result of a burl disease.
The first case involved a young man who received only the first of two doses of the measles vaccine as a child. He was subsequently diagnosed with hepatitis (inflammation of the liver, jaundice). The second case involved a young woman who developed appendicitis from measles. In the third case, a middle-aged man complained of blurred vision and severe headache. He was diagnosed with viral meningitis caused by his measles infection.

All three people made a full recovery after appropriate treatment and care, and none had any long-term health problems due to their illness.

Measles weaken the immune system

Because measles weakens the immune system, it can potentially cause very different complications in different organs of a patient, the authors note.

Almost a third of all reported measles cases are associated with one or more complications. These include pneumonia, febrile seizures, and encephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord), which causes neurological problems.

Another possible complication of measles is SSPE (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis), a progressive neurological disorder that causes permanent damage to the nervous system and is fatal.
"Major outbreaks with deaths are currently occurring in European countries that previously eradicated or interrupted endemic transmission [of measles]," the authors write, adding that 10,000 measles cases were reported in Europe in the first six months of 2019 alone were.

They attribute the surge in new cases to a publication in the early 2000s linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism, although large studies prove otherwise. This led to a decline in vaccination coverage and collective immunity (“herd protection”).

"Urgent efforts are needed to ensure global coverage of two-dose measles vaccines by educating and strengthening national immunization systems," concludes the scientists.

Sources: BMJ News, BMJ Case Reports