It comes amid a global outbreak of cases due to declining uptake of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Picture: AP
It comes amid a global outbreak of cases due to declining uptake of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Picture: AP

Measles even more dangerous than feared, new report shows

By BEN SPENCER AND VANESSA CHALMERS Time of article published Feb 18, 2020

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London - Measles may be even more serious than is realised, doctors warned on Monday night.

Reports on three patients struck down by the virus reveal complications included hepatitis, appendicitis and meningitis.

The highly contagious infection begins with a fever, cough and purple rash, but can  lead to deadly complications.

Three people who suffered hepatitis, viral meningitis and appendicitis after contracting measles were discussed in a report published on Tuesday.

It comes amid a global outbreak of cases due to declining uptake of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

The two-dose jab offers maximum protection against all three infections, but "unfounded fears" about its risks have caused many to refuse it. 

In most case the contagious respiratory infection leads to fever, a cough, conjunctivitis and a body rash. But measles can also "reset" the immune system, wiping out resistance to other illnesses.

It takes years to rebuild defences and analysis of three patients from Malta, published in the BMJ Case Reports journal, found a man of 29 hit by hepatitis as a result of measles. He had had only one of the two MMR vaccinations as a child.

An 18-year-old British holidaymaker, who never received MMR jabs, suffered appendicitis and lung problems. And a 42-year-old man endured meningitis and blurred vision following a bout of measles.

Although most people with measles recover in around a week, Dr Thelma Xerri and colleagues highlighted how serious it can become.

Rarer and more serious problems include pneumonia, febrile seizures and encephalomyelitis - inflammation of the brain and spinal cord which causes neurological problems. 

One potential complication is a progressive neurological disorder that causes permanent nervous system damage and leads to a vegetative state, doctors wrote. 

Multi-organ involvement could lead to disability or even cause death, the team said. 

A vaccination would have protected all three from the virus. 

Daily Mail

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