FACTBOX-Measles: A contagious but preventable disease

Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:22pm GMT

LONDON Aug 17 (Reuters) - Here are some facts about measles -- a disease which has killed more than 1,400 people in Africa this year in some of the most serious outbreaks seen on the continent for around a decade.

* Measles is a highly contagious viral disease affecting mostly children. It is one of the leading causes of death among children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available. In 2008, there were 164,000 measles deaths globally.

* More than 95 percent of measles deaths occur in low-income countries with weak health infrastructures.

* Improved rates of measles vaccination resulted in a 78 percent drop in measles deaths worldwide between 2000 and 2008.

* Measles vaccines have been in use for over 40 years. They are considered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be safe, effective and inexpensive.

* It costs less than $1 to vaccinate a child against measles, and two doses are needed for full protection. People who have measles and recover from it have lifelong immunity.

* Measles symptoms usually appear about 8 to 12 days after infection and include high fever, bloodshot eyes and tiny white spots inside the mouth. A rash also develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading over the body.

* Measles is easily passed from one person to another when someone with the disease coughs, sneezes or talks, putting infected droplets into the air or onto surfaces.   Continued...

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