Overview of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
When we talk about measles the first thing which comes to our mind is the infection that causes a red rash. Is that all? Well, no it is not, it is a disease caused by viral infection. and that infection is responsible for the red rash. Measles are also known as Rubella, is a viral infection that causes a red rash on the body.
Measles and Rubella as Two Viral Infections
There are differences between Measles, Rubella, and Mumps, we come to realize that although these viruses have kind of symptoms, they are different. The Measles virus is serious as compared to Rubella (commonly known as German Measles). Rubella is a serious condition in the case of pregnancy where the mother is infected and her unborn baby gets infected as a virus transmitted through the bloodstream which in results cause miscarriages or stillbirths, if the birth is successful then the chances of physical as well as intellectual impairment is very high in that baby.
They both have the common features that are a reddish rash with small bumps, or we can say swollen skin. Sometimes patients develop differently, or we can say subsequent symptoms.
They belong to different hierarchies. Measles belongs to the genus Morbillivirus and Rubella belongs to the genus Rubivirus. Now if we consider the case of the Mumps, it is the viral infection in which the salivary glands get affected the most due to which the swelling will be present on both glands and sometimes on only one.
The complications and the severity of the mumps can be stated as the loss of hearing ability in some serious cases, pain in the salivary glands, fever, and muscle aches. However, there is no specific treatment for Mumps.
What are Measles, Mumps, and Rubella?
We all know about viral diseases, and how dangerous they could be, most of them are life-threatening but they can be prevented with the right measures.
Measles, Rubella, and Mumps are all viral diseases.
Let us say your child aged 10-14 meets up with his friend. This friend of his is exposed to the contagious virus of Rubella.
His symptoms are not that clear, so he did not take any precautions as well. He and your child spend some time together in which they touch the common surfaces like chairs, tables, toys, mobile phones, etc. These surfaces are already contaminated with the virus and when your child contacts it, he somehow gets infected. Now your child who is the host of the deadly virus of Measles does not know about this and he came back home. Then the virus again transmits to the family members as well.
This is just one stage of its transmission. Another thing about this dangerous virus is that it replicates itself in the nasal cavity (nose) and Oral cavity (throat) of the host body.
This is one of the deadliest aspects of the Measles virus to be seen as highly communicable. As the infected person sneezes or coughs, the contaminated water droplets get mixed in the surroundings leaving the virus present in them and when somebody without any infection comes into that specific area of contamination, he gets infected very easily.
The virus remains active for several hours in surrounding or on contaminated surfaces. People even without knowing touch those surfaces and get themselves infected.
The percentage of getting infected in such scenarios is very high if we talk about it in numeric value, it lies somewhere between 90%.
There is one interesting and concerning fact about this virus, if a woman who is pregnant has this virus in her system, then this virus is also transmitted to the unborn baby as well through the bloodstream. This transmission of the virus through the bloodstream is known as Congenital Rubella Syndrome. Congenital Rubella Syndrome is a serious health issue as because of it there is a high risk of miscarriages and stillbirths.
It can also be responsible for certain physical defects in babies who got infected with it.
These defects can be described as:
- Delayed Growth: the growth of the child is not as adequate as it needs to be.
- Intellectual Disabilities: disabilities which include difficulty in speaking or reading, difficulty in understanding the rules or in following up(methods), difficulty in understanding the consequences of their actions apart from this difficulty in solving and attending to logical problems, and many more.
- Heart Defects: Defects in the formation of the heart result in abnormal features of the heart.
- Deafness: Unable to hear properly.
- Poorly Functioning Organs: un-developed motor skills causing structural deformation.
That is why a woman who is pregnant should have a blood test for this deadly virus. Otherwise, it might not be good for the mother and the baby as well.
Another thing which we found interesting in this virus is that, even after the treatment, the virus remains in the host body, and it again has the same tendency, or we can say the ability to get spread in the environment or surroundings.
In the case of Mumps, it is also a viral infection moreover it is very communicable and spreads easily from person to person mostly through the infected saliva. The saliva particles are found to be in the surrounding, objects or on the surfaces.
The complications which are arises because of mumps are as follows:
- Orchitis: It is a condition in which the male who reached the age of puberty, their testicles get swollen. It is very painful, but it does not affect the ability to father a child.
- Encephalitis: The inflammation of the brain and this causes some real life-threatening problems.
- Meningitis: The problem in which the membranes and fluid around the brain and the spinal cord get stiff which in result cause headache and fever.
- Pancreatitis: The pain in the upper abdomen also causes nausea and vomiting.
- Hearing Loss: This problem happens in serious cases in which the person can lose one or both the ear capabilities of hearing.
- Miscarriage: Mumps can also cause miscarriage while women are pregnant.
The complications arise because of Rubella:
The rash can be found on the face, and back and sometimes also spread to the legs.
- Pneumonia: is one of the serious conditions which can be possible because of Rubella.
- Ear infections: the presence of bacteria in the ear causes ear infections.
- Diarrhea: it is another problem that can happen because of Rubella.
- Encephalitis: The swelling of the brain.
The complications arise because of Measles:
- Infectious Ear: the most common problem which can be found in the infected person is the infected bacterial ears.
- Bronchitis: Measles may lead to the swelled larynx and pharynx of the infected person. Because of the inflammation, the air passageway size gets reduced.
- Pneumonia: pneumonia is a common problem that happens because of measles.
- Encephalitis: the problem in which the membrane of the brain gets swollen results in some serious health issues.
- Pregnancy problems: if the person is pregnant then it is advisable to take special care because measles can cause preterm labor or maternal death.
Treatment of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
In the case of treatment, there is no treatment but proper care and proper consultation from the doctor are necessary. The symptoms of measles fade away the way they first came into existence in the host body. On the other hand, it is much better to get vaccinated to avoid the emergence in the first place.
The treatment of rubella is again untreatable but with the right guidance and isolation, it can be cured but again cannot be treated completely. Whereas the mumps the treatment cannot be done. Proper care and self-rehabilitation can help moreover vaccination are necessary.
Prevention of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
The best prevention for all three Viral Infections is vaccination.
The vaccination targets and stops the viral infection in the very first phase of the process which is contact. Let us say if there is a person ‘X’ and he is an uninfected person, he somehow contacts the infected person ‘Y,’ then the chances of getting infected by person X is very minimal because of the vaccination.
When to call a doctor?
One needs to call a doctor if the child or the patient has symptoms like:
In case of Measles: call the doctor if your child has been exposed to measles or if he or she is displaying symptoms resembling measles-like the red rash with infectious ear or Pneumonia.
In case of Mumps: call the doctor if the symptoms such as the swollen salivary glands with headache or fever are shown in the child or a person.
In the case of Rubella: call the doctor if the child or person has symptoms such as a rash with a reddish color, low fever with nausea, and mild conjunctivitis.
The vaccination known as MMR is to be taken as a shot not orally. The first dosage should be given at the age of 12-15 months after that the second dosage can be given at the age of 4-6 years.
A person who is suffering from any of them can take the vaccine within 3 days of exposure to the virus.
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