Measles is a viral infection affecting the respiratory system. People who are affected by this disease usually show signs such as red eyes, runny nose and fever. It is very contagious and can easily spread via respiration. Furthermore, patients can also have a rash, which is generally described as erythematous and maculopapular. In addition to all these important details, it is also good to know something about its history including who discovered measles.
The Discovery of Measles
Who discovered measles? A Persian physician named Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-Razi was credited for the discovery of measles as a different disease from chickenpox and smallpox. He lived from 860 to 932. He published a book written in Arabic entitled “The Book of Smallpox and Measles.” Before that, a similar disease was already found some time in between 165 and 180 A.D. However, people were unsure whether that disease was measles or smallpox.
Within the span of the last 150 years, measles was reported to have killed approximately 200 million people from all parts of the world. In the 1850s, it killed a fifth of the people of Hawaii. In 1875, the disease killed almost one-third of the population of Fijians. In 1963, vaccines were launched to prevent the disease from killing more and more people.
The symptoms of measles include cough, red eyes or conjunctivitis as well as runny nose or coryza. Aside from these signs, patients will have fevers that can last up to four straight days. In terms of complications, this disease is associated with corneal ulceration, encephalitis and pneumonia. The virus is basically transmitted from one person to another through airborne pathogens.
Today, this disease is very much under control, thanks to the different preventive measures made available by medicine. For instance, the MMR vaccine not only stops measles, but also two other diseases, namely rubella and mumps. Based on reports, no treatment has been found yet for this disease. However, uncomplicated variations of the disease can be healed through supportive treatment and rest.
Based on the reports of the World Health Organization (WHO), measles remains as one of the major contributors to the consistent numbers of vaccine-preventable childhood mortality. Aside from WHO, other groups are conducting serious efforts to reduce the numbers significantly. These include the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the American Red Cross. One of the most recent outbreaks of the disease happened in February 2009 in the northern parts of Vietnam. More than 500 cases were reported including 160 cases from Hanoi, which is the capital city of the country.