or rubeola, a highly contagious viral
infection, is a leading cause of death
among young children despite the fact
that there has been a safe and effective
vaccine available for it for four decades.
Approximately 30–40 million cases
of measles occur worldwide each year,
and one million cases are fatal. Measles
is not synonymous with rubella or German
measles, a condition caused by a different
virus that is less contagious and results
in less severe symptoms.
Causes and Risk Factors
in the paramyxovirus family that affects
the respiratory tract is responsible
for causing measles. This virus affects
the cells that line the back of the
throat and lungs and multiplies rapidly.
The measles virus
is highly contagious, and it spreads
through airborne droplets that are dispersed
in the air when an infected person sneezes
or coughs. Anyone who is not immunized
against measles may become infected
if he or she comes into contact with
these viruses. The infected droplets
can stay active for several hours on
surfaces such as tissues, utensils,
clothes, or other objects that the infected
individual has come into contact with.
You can get infected by putting your
fingers in your mouth or nose after
touching the contaminated surface.
who has not been vaccinated against
measles can become infected with this
disease. Infants (of one year or less)
and pregnant women have a greater risk
of contracting measles. Insufficient
immunization can also increase the risk.
Also, after a certain period of time,
the effect of vaccine diminishes, causing
even vaccinated individuals to be susceptible
to contracting measles. Individuals
with weak immunity or with immunodeficiency
disorders such as HIV also have a heightened