Rubeola is the medical name for the disease commonly known as Measles. Its similarly entitled companion is Rubella or German Measles; the latter is usually less serious. Rubeola is sometimes also referred to as Red Measles, Morbilli or ten-day Measles, they are all the same illness.
The definition of Rubeola
Rubeola is classified as an endemic disease meaning it is continually present within the population kept at bay via strategic vaccination programmes. The definition of Rubeola must include a reference to the fact that it is a highly contagious, acute, viral condition.
Rubeola is controlled by inoculation but uptake is required to hit a certain level within the community to prevent outbreaks, usually in excess of 90% for immunity to be effective. The World Health Organisation states that measles accounted for just over one hundred thousand deaths in 2017 largely in unvaccinated pre-school age toddlers.
What exactly is Rubeola?
Rubeola is a virus of the Paramyxovirus family, more infectious and commonly more serious than Rubella. It is regarded as something of a childhood malaise but in fact, can strike anyone regardless of their age. Without vaccination, an individual succumbing to Rubeola would discover that what Rubeola causes is an unpleasant illness with fever, cough and flu-like symptoms leading potentially to very grave developments in vulnerable classes of patients – infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems such as AIDS sufferers.
The Rubeola virus is named after the distinctive rash for which it is famous
The title, Rubeola, is a reference to the identifying skin exanthem, the red spots which characterise the Rubeola virus. One of the defining signs of Rubeola, they often follow several days of illness before the diagnosis is definitively confirmed. The initial symptoms usually incubate for approximately ten to fourteen days following exposure to a carrier. Take a glance through some of these pictures. Wikipedia has a pretty good and thorough exposition of the disease with lots of useful information and data for students and research readers as well as anxious parents and signposts to more detailed and specialised commentary.
When was the Rubeola vaccine introduced?
The vaccine for Rubeola appeared first in 1963, prior to that, there were regular epidemics of Rubeola. Statistics demonstrate that the disease accounted for around two million deaths per annum
During the later decades of the twentieth century, many countries implemented universal immunisation policies as part of public health governance hence the colossal decline in mortality rates. In many circumstances, the vaccine for measles is combined with those for Mumps and Rubella to form a trio of inoculation called the MMR jab. Around the year 2000, the MMR vaccination was the subject of adverse publicity due to some analysis, since discredited, claiming that the combined vaccination could provoke autism in some children. The main furore occurred in the UK who had introduced the triple jab in 1998; prior to this, the vaccinations were administered separately.
The medic at the centre of the claims, Dr Andrew Wakefield, caused major disruption to the vaccination programme as parents ran scared. His report was responsible for causing a significant drop off in inoculation protection in the UK; before his findings were published in The Lancet over 90% of UK children were vaccinated, following publication, the rate dropped to below 80% considerably affecting what is termed as ‘herd immunity’ – to eradicate a disease a minimum number need to be vaccinated. Wakefield has since been disgraced for his part in this scandal but the whole rumpus considerably affected vaccination defence against Rubeola in the UK for years.
Currently, children who receive the vaccine have the first injection before they are one and the second just prior to starting school. Around 15% of children fail to develop immunity from the first injection hence the repeated dosage.
What are the normal symptoms for Rubeola?
Symptoms develop around a week to ten days following exposure to the virus. They start like the common cold but fever can ensue, watery eyes, high temperature, a runny nose and a cough. Small white spots may appear on the inside of the cheeks but not always with Rubeola symptoms. At this stage, that person could be suffering from one of a number of complaints. The rash so synonymous with Rubeola will appear after a few days often starting on the face and neck and then spreading down to cover the entire body usually persisting for about a fortnight. There is no specific treatment for Rubeola other than good nursing care and over the counter anti-inflammatory medication such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen to lower temperature and make the patient more comfortable.
Rubeola can cause complications in tiny children and babies or older adults. These may include encephalitis – a subsequent infection which causes the brain to become enlarged – blindness, dehydration and diarrhoea, ear infections and respiratory pneumonia. The results of any of these can lead to life-changing outcomes if not prove fatal.
What are the best precautions to avoid contracting Rubeola?
Vaccination is the best form of prevention available. If you are unvaccinated and subsequently develop measles, you will then have lifelong immunity thereafter.