On Monday (20/12), the State Department of Health of Minas Gerais (SES-MG) confirmed the occurrence of a case of measles in Montes Claros. A little over 15 days ago, the disease affected a six-month-old child, who was assisted in a nursery. The results of laboratory tests carried out by the Ezequiel Dias Foundation (Funed), in Belo Horizonte, were issued on Monday, 20.
The subject was one of the themes of the meeting of the Group for Analysis and Monitoring of Vaccinations (Gamov), held on Tuesday, 21, with the participation of coordinators of Epidemiological and Health Surveillance of the Regional Health Superintendence (SRS) of Montes Claros, technical references on Immunization and representatives of the Minas Gerais Health Secretariat Council (Cosems-MG).
With the confirmation of the case, the SRS-Montes Claros guided the Municipal Health Department on how to carry out a survey of the people who had been in contact with the child. An active search of all children assisted by the nursery is also being carried out, with the objective of carrying out the application of zero (extra) dose of the measles vaccine, in order to contain the spread of the disease.
The coordinator of Health Surveillance at the SRS, Agna Soares da Silva Menezes, explains that the only way to prevent measles is through vaccination. Vaccines are offered in all municipalities by the Unified Health System (SUS).
Currently, the measles vaccine is indicated as follows: the first dose should be given to children when they turn one year old and the second dose should be given at 15 months of age.
People between 1 and 29 years old, with a proven dose on the vaccine card must complete the vaccination schedule with the second dose. If a person aged between 1 and 29 years old has not taken any dose of the vaccine, lost the card or does not remember having been immunized, they must take both doses of the immunizing agent.
If the person is between 30 and 59 years old, they should have a dose of the vaccine.
Measles is a serious infectious disease caused by a virus and can be fatal. It is transmitted through speech, coughing and sneezing.
The virus settles in the lining of the nose and sinuses to reproduce and then enters the bloodstream. An infected person can transmit the disease to 90% of nearby people who are not immunized.
Transmission can occur between four days before and four days after the appearance of red spots throughout the body. After contact with a sick person, the person may present symptoms on average after ten days, ranging from 7 to 18 days.
The initial symptoms of the disease are: fever accompanied by coughing; eye irritation; runny or stuffy nose; lack of appetite and intense malaise. During this period, white spots may be seen on the inside of the cheeks, which are characteristic of the disease. Within three to five days, other signs and symptoms may appear, such as red patches on the face and behind the ears, which then spread throughout the body.
After the appearance of red spots, the persistence of fever is a warning sign and may indicate seriousness, especially in children under five years of age.
Measles is a serious disease that can leave lifelong after-effects or cause death. The main complications vary according to the patient’s life stages. In children can cause pneumonia; ear infections; acute encephalitis (inflammation in the brain – part of the nervous system inside the skull) or death. In adults it can cause pneumonia and in pregnant women, premature birth or a low birth weight baby.
Measles has no specific treatment. Medications are used to reduce the discomfort caused by the symptoms of the disease. Under medical advice, medications for fever, oral hydration, nutritional therapy with encouragement of breastfeeding and proper hygiene of the eyes, skin and upper airways may be prescribed. Bacterial complications of measles must be specifically treated.