Measles is another highly contagious disease in childhood. Because of the widespread vaccination campaign, however, its transmission has been interrupted in several countries including the Philippines. The incubation period is 8 to 12 days.
Initially the child will start to have fever, cough, colds, and redness of the eyes (palpebral conjunctivae). There will be lesions called Koplik spots on the lining inside the cheek and lips (buccal mucosa). The skin rash begins on the forehead, behind the ears, and on the upper neck as a red maculopapular rash (confluent spots and bumps). It will spread downward to the trunk, arms, and legs including the palms and soles. The rash fades after a week, and there may be desquamation (peeling) observed.
Complications may be in the form of pneumonia, hoarseness, ear infection, diarrhea, and encephalitis. Treatment of uncomplicated measles is once again supportive. Proper hydration is important. Measures to bring down the temperature include giving antipyretics and tepid sponge baths. Vitamin A is given to individuals who have measles.
Measles vaccine is widely available either as a monovalent (single-microbe) preparation or combined with mumps and rubella and even varicella. Measles vaccine is indicated for children ages 12 to 15 months followed by another dose at 4 to 6 months of age. In the Philippines, measles is given as early as 6 months followed by two more doses at 15 months and 4 to 6 years of age.
Measles Cases in the Philippines Rise