Latest Update on Outbreak of Measles / Sore Eyes

As of January 4, 2014 (Sunday), the Department of Health declared measles outbreaks in five cities in Metro Manila as the number of patients infected by the viral disease continues to rise.

The cities where outbreaks have been declared are:

Caloocan (Dagat-dagatan and Bagong Barrio)
Las Piñas (Talon Singko and Talon Dos)
Manila (Quiapo, Port Area, Sta. Mesa, Binondo and Sta. Cruz)
Muntinlupa (Alabang)

According to a report aired on “Balitanghali” Saturday, the DOH has recorded 744 confirmed cases of measles in Metro Manila alone between January 1 to December 14, 2013. A total of 1,724 measles cases, meanwhile, have been reported across the country, 21 of which led to death.

On Measles

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness. This means that the measles virus can easily be passed from one person to another if breathed in. If one person has measles, nine out of 10 people who aren’t immunised and come into close contact with that person will catch it. Measles is now less common because of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Measles mostly affects children, but once you’ve had measles, you won’t get it again.

The early symptoms of measles usually appear around 10 days after you become infected with the virus. However, symptoms may show as early as seven days after you catch the virus, or as late as 18 days. Your symptoms may last about six to 10 days and may include:

  • a fever
  • an eye infection with discharge (conjunctivitis)
  • a runny nose
  • a cough
  • small, red spots with white centres inside your cheeks (Koplik spots)
  • loss of appetite
  • a sore throat
  • abdominal (tummy) pain

A red, blotchy rash that isn’t itchy will usually appear three to five days after the first symptoms of measles. The rash generally spreads from your face and behind your ears, before spreading to rest of your body. This usually lasts about a week before fading. These symptoms aren’t always caused by measles, but if you or your child have them, see your GP. Complications of measles including ear infections, pneumonia and diarrhea are common. Less common complications may include meningitis and inflammation of your lungs, liver and sinuses. About one in 200 children may get febrile convulsions (fits that occur with a high temperature).

Rare, but potentially fatal complications include the following. Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). The symptoms are similar to meningitis and include drowsiness, headaches, seizures, confusion and a dislike of light.

Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis is a complication that affects your nervous system and can occur months or even years after the initial measles infection. Symptoms include seizures, mental health problems and unusual behaviour. Complications are more likely to occur in children under five and adults over 20. People who have a weakened immune system, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or illnesses such as leukaemia, are also more likely to get complications. The number of otherwise healthy people who die from the complications of measles in developed countries is relatively low. However, in developing countries, up to one in four people with measles die from complications, especially if they aren’t getting enough nutrients to support their immune system.

If you’re pregnant and become infected with measles, the virus can result in miscarriage, premature birth of your baby or low birth weight when he or she is born.

Measles is caused by a paramyxovirus. The virus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets of infected mucus or saliva in the air can then be breathed in by other people. If this happens, the measles virus may grow in cells in the back of your throat and your lungs.

You can also get measles if you're in close or direct contact with the nose or mouth of someone who has the virus. You're most likely to catch measles from someone who is in the early stages of infection until four days after their rash has appeared. The measles virus can survive on surfaces for up to two hours and be passed on when you touch a surface and then touch your mouth or nose.

Your GP will ask you about your symptoms and examine you. He or she may also ask you about your medical history.

Your GP will usually be able to diagnose you with measles from your symptoms, especially by the type of rash you may have.

Your GP may do a saliva or blood test to confirm whether or not you have measles.

Measles is a notifiable disease. This means that if your GP suspects you have measles, by law he or she has to report it to the local health protection unit. This is to ensure there are accurate records of how many people in the UK are getting measles each year.

Sore Eyes

Common terms used for Conjunctivitis are “sore eyes” or Pink Eye. Conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the thin covering of the eyeball and inner eyelid. The inflammation is brought on by a viral, bacterial, or allergy infection. However, sore eyes are generally due to a viral infection.

Prevention

  1. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Do not touch your eyes and face without washing your hands.
  3. Do not share towels, eyeglasses/ shades and make up.
  4. Do not reuse handkerchiefs (using a tissue is best).
  5. Used make-up must be thrown away if the patient has been diagnosed with infectious conjunctivitis.
  6. Be careful that tips of eye drops or ointments do not touch the eyes or eyelashes.
  7. Don’t swim (some bacteria and viruses can be spread in the water).
  8. Avoid shaking hands.
  9. Disinfect surfaces, doorknobs, counters, elevator buttons, hand rails with dilute bleach solution.
  10. Clothes, towels, pillow cases and anything else which may have come in contact with an infected person should be washed.

Treatment

  1. Frequently wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Use clean tissue to remove discharge from eyes and wash hands afterwards.
  3. Dispose used tissue in garbage bins. If the latter is not available, keep tissue in a small plastic bag then discard it as soon as you find a garbage bin.
  4. To prevent irritation of the eye and possible scarring, do not use contact lens while one has sore eyes.
  5. Do not wear eye make-up until the problem has been resolved.
  6. Warm compress may be helpful to relieve discomfort and remove "crust".
  7. Use antibiotic or antiviral medication only upon prescription by the doctor.
  8. If drops or an ointment is prescribed, the applicator tip and infected eye must never come in contact with each other.
  9. Especially for persons with sore eyes with runny nose or cough, stay in a separate room or away from other family members or co-workers.

Naturally and in a more convenient way, sore eyes may likewise be treat in this manner:

  1. Apply a poultice made from raw grated apples.
  2. Apply a slice of cucumber over each eye for 30 minutes.
  3. Keep washing your eyes so as to keep them clean.
  4. Along with water, wash your eyes with warm milk.
  5. Infusion of a plantain can be used as eyewash.
  6. Cotton balls dipped in rosewater can also be effectively placed over the eyes for effective and natural treatment of sore eyes.
  7. Try putting some salt in boiled, cooled water. Dip some cotton balls in it. Then you need to close your eyes and place the salted cotton balls on top of your infected eye for immediate relief. Remain in this position for about 5 minutes.
  8. Castor oil can provide relief and a soothing effect to irritated and sore eyes.
  9. Make some healthy changes in your diet too as healthy diet is a way towards healthy life.
  10. Eat more of omega-3 fatty acid.
  11. Get some adequate sleep so that your eyes get adequate time and relaxation for rejuvenation.

 

Reminders from:

Dr. Pablito S. Belardo, V.P. for Administration
Mrs. Leticia U. Reyes, Dean-College of Nursing

 

Sources:

http://children.webmd.com/tc/measles-rubeola-topic-overview

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/342445/news/metromanila/doh-declares-measles-outbreaks-in-5-metro-manila-cities

http://www.coolbuster.net/2009/03/sore-eyes-tips-how-to-prevent-and-treat.html

 
 

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