Bangkok – Dr. Suwannachai Watthanayingcharoenchai, Director-General of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), says the number of measles patients worldwide has increased. According to the World Health Organization, from January to August, the number of measles patients almost trebled compared to the same period last year.
This year, 364,808 measles patients were treated in many different parts of the the world. The three highest numbers were located in Madagascar (127,464), Ukraine (54,246) and the Philippines (36,253) respectively.
In Thailand, from January 1 – August 31, 2019, there were 4,435 measles patients of whom 14 died. The provinces saw the greatest occurrence of measles per 100,000 people, particularly Narathiwat, Pattani, Phetchaburi, Chiang Mai and Tak.
Measles is caused by a virus and the most common symptom is viral exanthema. Patients usually have a high fever for 3-4 days and then begin to get a red rash on the body. In about 2-3 days, the fever will gradually lessen and the rash will gradually fade away. Complications that may be found are throat inflammation, bronchitis and pneumonia, otitis media, conjunctivitis, diarrhea and encephalitis, which is the most severe condition.
Those who have measles or think they have measles should immediately go to see a doctor for a diagnosis, give a blood sample for a laboratory test and receive treatment. However, measles can be prevented by vaccination which is more than 95 percent effective. According to the immunization program of the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), two vaccinations against measles, mumps, and rubella can be provided to children.
The first vaccination is provided to children aged nine months and the second at age two years and six months. Any children who have not yet had the vaccinations according to the program, can be taken by their parents to receive vaccinations at any public health facility. For more information, please call 1422.