Cases of measles have increased worldwide. There are a lot of them, in particular, in the USA. There is an increase in the incidence in certain regions of the Russian Federation, and experts are talking about “cleaning up vaccination.” What it is? Why is there a problem with a common “childhood” infection for which there is a vaccine? And how do you check if you are immune to measles?
Why is measles back?
“Indeed, according to the World Health Organization, in recent years, outbreaks of measles have been registered in a number of countries in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions (Congo, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, etc.). The complication of the epidemiological situation with measles is also noted in neighboring countries (Ukraine, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan), — told aif.ru Deputy Director for Research of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Gorelov. – At one time, WHO set the task of completely eradicating this infection by 2010. But this did not succeed, the measles returned. Since this is a classic vaccine-preventable infection, the main reason for the trouble is the decrease in coverage of routine immunization against measles for children and adults, and the increase in the number of refusals to vaccinate.”
According to Rospotrebnadzor, the situation with measles in Russia is now stable. Measles vaccination coverage for children and adults is about 95%, which is sufficient for the formation of herd immunity. An increase in the incidence is noted in a number of subjects of the Russian Federation, but mainly due to unvaccinated citizens. For all cases of measles, a complex of anti-epidemic and preventive measures has been organized and is being carried out, which is under the control of Rospotrebnadzor.
“In certain regions where the risk of infection by unvaccinated persons remains, the so-called clean-up immunization against measles is carried out. It is aimed at maintaining a high level of herd immunity to this infection,” the academician specified.
The main difference is the rash
The specialist recalled that measles is an acute infectious disease with a very high contagiousness. This means that upon contact with a carrier of an infection of a person who has not previously been ill with measles and unvaccinated, the probability of infection is almost one hundred percent. The only way to protect yourself is by vaccination.
The disease begins with a rise in temperature. Then a runny nose, cough, redness of the eyes and watery eyes (conjunctivitis) appear – at this stage, measles is difficult to distinguish from the usual SARS. During this period of the disease, a characteristic sign of measles may be Filatov-Belsky-Koplik spots – small whitish rashes on the inner surface of the cheeks and lips.
A few days later, a characteristic maculopapular rash appears, first on the face and upper neck. After about three days, the rash spreads throughout the body and eventually spreads to the arms and legs. The rash persists for five to six days and gradually disappears, leaving pigmentation in its place. The entire period of the rash is characterized by increased symptoms of intoxication. From the 5th day of the rash, the patient is considered non-infectious. In some cases, against the background of rashes, hemorrhages can be seen – petechiae.
Measles, like any “children’s” infection, is especially hard on adults. No specific antiviral drugs have been developed for the treatment of measles. Only pathogenetic and symptomatic therapy in accordance with age, clinical manifestations and severity of the disease.
Unfortunately, measles is one of those infections that can come around even after recovery.
“Most often, complications develop in children under the age of five or in adults,” says Gorelov. – The virus suppresses the immune system, affecting primarily the mucous membranes, and then the lymph nodes. The number of protective T-lymphocytes in the blood decreases, which can contribute to the development of severe secondary bacterial infections, localized mainly in the respiratory system.
So after recovery, you can go to bed again – with inflammation of the middle ear (otitis media) or cervical lymph nodes, bronchopneumonia, laryngitis, severe diarrhea. Measles can even lead to encephalitis and blindness.
Measles is especially dangerous during pregnancy – the infection can lead to spontaneous abortion or premature birth. “But this does not mean that others are immune from a negative outlook. At risk are all unvaccinated people who can potentially come into contact with the infection,” Gorelov stressed.
But the vaccination is interesting. It turns out that the vaccine, which many of us received in childhood, does not protect for life.
When should adults get vaccinated?
“Vaccination against measles provides a person with immunity for an average of 20-25 years,” said aif.ru leading expert of the CMD Center for Molecular Diagnostics, Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor Mikhail Lebedev. – Vaccination against measles is included in the National vaccination calendar and is carried out twice with an interval of at least three months. Information about this, like other vaccinations, should be in the medical record.
What if you do not remember if you were vaccinated, or if there is no corresponding entry in the medical record? “You can take an analysis for the intensity of immunity – determining the presence of IgG antibodies to the measles virus,” explains Lebedev. – If there are protective IgG in the blood, you do not need to be vaccinated. If there are no antibodies, you need to get vaccinated in order to preserve the health of not only your own, but also those around you.”
There is also the option of an emergency measles vaccination. It is indicated in contact with a measles patient for those people who have not had measles before, have not been vaccinated (or have been vaccinated once), and do not have data on measles vaccinations.
The measles vaccine today is one of the most proven and effective. By the way, the Russian vaccine is based on the Leningrad strain, it is also used in measles vaccines in other countries. It was the widespread introduction of measles vaccination that contributed to the elimination of measles outbreaks in the Soviet Union and Russia.