Measles – Treatment

Sick child being treated in bedThere is no specific measles treatment. Rest, paracetamol and medication are used to relieve the cold symptoms, and vitamin A supplements appear to reduce the severity of an attack. Children must be excluded from school for at least four days after the appearance of the rash.

Measles may be prevented by a vaccination, which is usually given at one and four years of age in combination with the mumps and rubella (German measles) vaccine, and with widespread vaccination, it is becoming a rare infection in developed countries, and may be totally eradicated by 2020.

The diagnosis of measles can be confirmed by blood tests if necessary, and previous exposure to the measles virus or vaccine can also be confirmed by specific antibody blood tests.

The prognosis is usually very good, but significant complications occur in one in every 200 cases, and death occurs in one in every 5000 cases in developed countries, while in third-world countries one in ten children or adults who catch measles will die.

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