Measles are often underestimated and discounted as a harmless child-disease. As a matter of fact, measles are highly contagious and bear severe consequences – for children as well as for adults.
Measles are transmitted by droplet infection, the infection-probability being as high as 98%. Children are most likely infected, but adults should also beware the risk of infection. After a relatively long incubation period of 8-12 days, the common symptoms, such as fever, cough, cold and pinkeye appear. A red and itchy rash is the most characteristic symptom of the disease. About 20% of the infected, however, suffer further complications like bronchitis or middle ear inflammation. In rare cases measles can lead to fatal meningitis. Therefore, this disease should not be underestimated. Prophylaxis is highly recommended.
How can I protect myself?
Normally, people who have already had measles should be immune for the rest of their lives. However, one should always be careful and protect oneself through proper vaccination (mumps-measles-rubella). In Austria the vaccination is free for children and adults and can be easily administered by any family practitioner. There are no high risks for there are very little side effects – the danger of contagion is bigger. Therefore, physicians and experts advise vaccination – not only for ones’ own safety. Vaccination also protects the people around you and helps reaching the goal of the World Health Organization (WHO) to finally exterminate measles.