How are measles like zombies?

By February 23, 2015Infections

It’s a strange comparison, right? Except this virus is just like zombies in the most important way: it seemed like the measles was dead, but it isn’t.

How measles nearly died

Measles was one of those old diseases that modern medicine had almost wiped out. A vaccination rolled out back in 1968 was successful at preventing the infection, which meant that most potential victims didn’t get it at all. With fewer people carrying measles, those who were vulnerable didn’t even get to meet the virus. But it seems that we forgot what measles could do.

In 1998, a fake ‘study’ blaming vaccinations for autism caused a panic among nervous parents who refused to get their little ones vaccinated. It took a while for the protection that had built up over 40 or more years to weaken, but slowly it did – one case, then another, and then a few more. Suddenly the world was looking at a perfect measles storm. Now the storm has broken in countries like the UK and US, and it’s a big one.

How does measles work?

It’s very easy to get infected with measles, and once the virus has bitten there’s no stopping the disease. Starting with your lymph nodes, its first sneaky move is to reduce your infection-fighting white blood cells. Basically, the virus gets the code to your body’s gun room and then steals most of your bullets.

Next, the virus enters your bloodstream and gets a free ride to every possible area of your body. At this point measles has something else in common with zombies – it can’t be cured or killed. You just have to wait it out and treat the symptoms.

Read  Ebola: Dr Kathryn Stinson’s experiences from the frontline Part 2

What are the symptoms of measles?

  • High fever, rising over 3 days to 39 to 40.5 C degrees
  • A dry, harsh cough and a runny nose
  • Red, inflamed eyes that are sensitive to bright light
  • A rash that starts along the hairline and spreads over the whole body – inside and out!
  • Possible diarrhoea

Is measles dangerous?

Yes. Even though most people with access to the vaccination are using it, and it’s working for them, measles is still totals up at about 145,700 deaths a year in countries without vaccination programmes. The most vulnerable are the very young, the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system – which means that babies and toddlers are right in the danger zone.

How can measles kill?

Measles complications that may get you are:

  • Croup (swelling of the vocal cords and upper airways) can block the airways.
  • Infected and damaged airways can lead to pneumonia
  • Middle ear infection is very common and is apparent from pain in the ear.
  • Bacterial infection, causing eye inflammation, can lead to scarring of the eye-white
  • Measles weakens your immune system for weeks to months
  • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) happens in about 1/1 000 cases of measles.

So, how are measles like zombies?

  1. Just when we all thought it was dead, it turns out that the measles virus isn’t.
  2. It sneak-attacks
  3. The vulnerable are most at risk
  4. If you aren’t vaccinated, just one exposure can infect you
  5. The only way to kill measles is prevention – give it a perfect head-shot by getting vaccinated.Source: Health24