top of page
  • Writer's pictureSprinkle Spray

Measles: Why is it so deadly and why do you need to get vaccinated?

Measles is a highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease that can spread quickly especially in more naive populations that do not always have access to medical services.

Measles was discovered by a persian physician Rhazes (860 - 932) who published his findings in The Book of Smallpox and Measles. In recent works that examined the current mutation rate of the measles virus indicates that it emerged from rinderpest (cattle plague) as a zoonotic disease between 1100 and 1200 AD. It has been observed that measles requires a susceptible population of more than 500 000 to sustain an epidemic which coincided with the growth of medieval European cities. 

The virus played its part in decimating Native American populations during the age of discovery. Since these people groups had no natural immunity to the diseases brought to the New World by the Europeans, some estimates suggest up to 95% of the Native American population died due to smallpox, measles and other infectious diseases. 

More than 3-4 million people in the U.S are estimated to have been infected by measles in the 1960's. It is an endemic disease, meaning that it has been continually present in a community and many people in that community develop resistance to it. For populations that have not been exposed to measles the disease can be devastating. In Cuba in 1529 a measles outbreak killed two-thirds of the population who had previously survived smallpox.

Between around 1855 and 2006, the virus has been estimated to have killed about 200 million people worldwide.

From the above it is clear that measles posed a great threat to the overall population of the world. Luckily due to advances in the medical field, the first successful vaccine was created by Maurice Hilleman and in 1963 licensed vaccines were made available to help prevent the disease. An improvement of the vaccine became available in 1968 and as a result, measles as an endemic disease was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, however, international travel continues to provide a threat.

South Africa has seen her fair share of measles outbreaks and in 2017, it was reported that one family who refused to get vaccinated due to religious regions was responsible for an entire measles outbreak in Gauteng. In South Africa, single-dose measles vaccination began in 1975 as part of the Expanded Program on Immunization or EPI. A 2-dose strategy at 9 and 18 months was adopted and introduced in 1996 and its schedule was adapted in 2016 to 6 and 12 months. For more statistical information please click here.

So what is Measles and what do you need to look out for?

It is a highly contagious, severe viral infection caused by a Morbillivirus.

Is Measles and Rubella (German Measles) the same?

Rubella (German Measles or 3-day Measles) is an infection caused by the Rubella Virus. Both Measles and German Measles are viral diseases but it is important to note that Measles and German Measles are not the same thing. Rubella is a bit more mild and can cause a greater threat to pregnant women as it can lead to birth defects. Rubella is sometimes accompanied by swollen and tender lymph nodes which often distinguishes it from Measles. For more information about Rubella, click here.

How does Measles spread?

It is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing or coming into direct contact with an infected person's mucus. The incubation period of Measles averages out to between 10 to 14 days from exposure. 

Symptoms of Measles include the following:

How can you protect yourself and your loved ones?

* The best protection against Measles is vaccination and for Rubella, it is

* Keep surfaces and objects disinfected and clean. Contact us to find out about our

   industry standard disinfecting and cleaning products for your facility or home. Our

   products are used widely in medical, commercial and industrial spaces

* Practice good overall hygiene by washing your hands regularly and covering your mouth

   when you sneeze or cough

* Steer clear from an infected person

* Get your home, office, gym, school or call center sprayed weekly by Sprinkle Spray to help

   eliminate surface bacteria thereby limiting the chances of cross contamination

To book a free quote of your facility or home or to order a free sample pack of our products, contact us today.

**no part of the above may be copied without the written consent of Sprinkle Spray

13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page