On March 29, 2018, a man was discovered to be infected with measles while traveling in Thailand, Taiwan and Japan. Although the patient did not show any symptoms at the time, he was already contagious and may be infecting measles to both the crew members and passengers of Tiger Airways. It was later discovered that more than 60 individuals were infected with aforementioned disease, making it the first case of measles outbreak in four years.
Similar outbreak occurred after a visitor was diagnosed and hospitalized at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital after showing symptoms of measles upon returning from Macau to Taiwan.
In total, there have been 23 confirmed cases of measles infection since its first discovery. Furthermore, over 4,400 individuals have come in contact with the infected.
What is Measles and what are the Symptoms ?
Generally speaking, measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that can sustain itself in a person’s nose or throat. When the infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can be sprayed out of the body and survive in the air for up to two hours. During this period, other individuals may be infected if they were in contact with the virus via inhalation or touching surfaces that are not sanitized.
When a person is infected with measles, he/she will be contagious for the first eight days of infection. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that approximately 90% of people who are in close contact with the infected will be affected by the disease.
At its early stage, the symptoms of measles are akin to that of common colds, which may include the followings:
The early onset symptoms are high fever, cough, runny nose, red itchy eyes (conjunctivitis), and high fever for 4 to 7 days.
White patches (Koplik spots) may appear inside the mouth 2 to 3 days after symptoms appear.
Subsequently, a red rash occurs on the face and upper neck and then spreads to the body's trunk, hands, feet, and other parts.
The rash begins to fade after 5 to 6 days of attack.
Three types of people are susceptible to measles
The following three types of susceptible people belong to measles:
No measles vaccine
Travel to high-incidence countries for measles
Lack of vitamin A (if you don't get enough vitamin A from your diet, you can easily get measles, and the symptoms may be more serious)
Is Measles Dangerous ?
According to the latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO), there were over 900,000 people who died due to measles infection in 2016. In most cases, however, they lost their lives not to measles itself but to the complications that caused by it (e.g. pneumonia and encephalitis). Nevertheless, such complications will likely occur to those who are suffering from severe malnutrition (especially vitamin A deficiency).
Is there Cure for Measles ?
Although there are no medicine that are currently available for curing measles, one can take the following steps to prevent complications from developing and thus accelerate the time needed for recovery:
Drink plenty of water
Consume adequate amount of water and vitamin A
Should you take Measles Vaccine ?
People who were previously infected by measles will be immune to it for the rest of their life.
On the other hand, receiving vaccination (i.e. MMR) is an effective method to prevent measles infection, as the prevention rate can be as high as 97%. It is recommended for children to receive vaccination once before they reach the age of 1 and again in the age of 5 to develop adaptive immunity.
In an interview with the Central News Agency, Zhuang Renxiang (director of the Department of Health’s Deputy) stated that most people who are over the age of 40 had antibodies due to the fact that measles was once a pandemic in Taiwan. Because of this, two shots of vaccine were administrated to those who are under the age of 20 as a way to eliminate the possibility of such disease from reoccurring.
Please refrain from contacting infected individual and seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience any symptoms of measles.