One can die of measles, but we have forgotten about it because we have always been protected by the vaccine. Now the absurd anti-vaccination campaigns and the fake news about the correlations of the vaccines with the onset of autism, restrained our unique weapons of defence against viral diseases: the vaccines.
From the beginning of the year the cases of measles in Italy were more than 1000. The World Health Organization complaints that measles is among the main causes of infant mortality with 134,000 deaths in the world in 2015 (let us not forget that before the advent of the vaccine in the 1980s the number of deaths was more than 2 million per year). Between 1950 and 1970 in Italy the dead for measles, limited to the age group between 0 and 4 years, were 5473! While the majority of European countries has eradicated the disease, in Italy measles is still endemic and the percentage of vaccinated is far from that 95% capable of preventing the circulation of the virus among the population: we are at today at 85% of the children vaccinated.
In 2010, we managed to vaccinate 90% of children, then we have lowered the guard and we arrived to the epidemy than must now worry us. Also the fact that the vaccination is not compulsory induced perhaps the young mothers, that have no memory of measles, to believe that it is not so dangerous. Now measles strikes infants below 12-15 months of life, that is the moment in which it is recommended to take the first dose of vaccine. Usually up at that age the child is protected by the antibodies passed down by the mother, but if the mother has not been vaccinated or has not contracted measles, then the risk of becoming ill becomes very high.
The disease of the red dots is hitting even adults: out of the 1010 cases reported from the beginning of the year, more than half are people aged between 15 and 39 years (this is often the case of health-care personnel) and among these many were hospitalized for the complications of measles such as diarrhoea, kerato-conjunctivitis, pneumonia, stomatitis, damage to hearing, neurological problems. The measles virus is among the most highly contagious and is transmitted by air via the saliva droplets emitted from the ill person sneezing and coughing. About 90% of children exposed to infection gets ill and the ill person is contagious already starting from the seventh day of incubation, when the symptoms of measles are still to come.
In the early days, measles presents itself as a common flu: fever often exceeding 104° F, cough, running nose, general malaise and red eye with intolerance to light. The stains of Koplik, small white colour stains inside the mouth, appear two, three days later. The real infectious phase with spots on the skin, typical of measles, that spread throughout the body, appears from three to five days after the beginning of the symptoms and lasts an average of 4-6 days. Patients are contagious from four days before to four days after the beginning of the rash and nine out of ten people, not immune, which come into contact with an infected person, will get sick.
Taken from “Sempre”