Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the measles virus. The Superintendent for Public Health Dr Charmaine Gauci, explained that the disease is so infectious that even a 15-minute exposure could get a non-immunised individual infected.
Dr Gauci further explained that symptoms include body temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius, cough, sneezing. The characteristic red measles rash will then start spreading usually starting from the head until they cover the whole body. It is very important to contact a doctor immediately so that the patient gets the appropriate care and the virus does not keep on spreading.
“No specific treatment”
Dr Gauci explained that there is no prescription medication to treat measles, yet patients could get treatment for specific symptoms, such as using paracetamol to treat fever. She also insisted that patients should be supervised as there might be complications such as pneumonia and inflammation of the brain.
The Superintendent for Public Health also pointed out that there were 72 measles-related fatalities and 82,000 cases in Europe in 2018. She also said that 60% of the cases have to be hospitalised.
“Vaccination increases immunity by 97%”
Dr Gauci added that measles could be prevented with a highly-effective vaccine. The vaccine is made up of two doses of MMR. The first dose allows a 95% protection, whilst the second dose will increase immunity to 97%. She explained that the vaccine is one of the free vaccines that are given to children on the national vaccination schedule. The first dose is administered at 13 when the child is 13-months old whilst the dose is given when the child is 3 or 4 years old.
She also reported that the cases that have been reported in 2019 were all adults who have not been vaccinated when they were children.
She is urging parents to vaccinate their children and adults that have not received the vaccine, or have not contracted the disease when they were children, to contact a doctor or a health centre to find out if they could be vaccinated.