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Measles virus: causes, symptoms, impact

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Measles virus is a highly contagious virus that is common in mainly young people but can be contracted by any person. It is not common in animals. The known origin of the measles virus is from the divergence from the rinderpest virus between the eleventh and twelfth centuries when humans and cattle lived close together in proximity. Measles virus, or MeV, and rinderpest virus, or RPV, are closely related. The divergence between the two viruses happened in those two centuries was unexpected because when MeV emerged it was said to have occurred in prehistoric ages.

The first description found for a measles syndrome was by Abu Becr in the ninth century. However, the first two people to isolate the measles virus was John F. Enders and Thomas C. Peebles in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1954. Measles virus is a classified mononegavirales. Mononegavirales is the taxonomic home to many other viruses related to the measles virus, such as the Ebola virus, mumps virus, and the rabies virus. The host of the measles virus is the human body, but also the lymphoid tissues and circulation. The virus also lives in the throat and nose mucus of the infected person.

Measles virus spreads by aerosols and droplets which can come from a person coughing on something or someone or a person touching an object and then another person touching that same object and then touching their mouth. It can also spread by someone sneezing after a person sneezes the measles virus can stay in that airspace for up to two hours. It also spreads through entering into the host cells and taking over the DNA replication of the host. What usually happens first is the virus coming into contact with the lung tissue of a host, than it infects the lungs” immune cells which are also called macrophages and dendritic cells. Those cells serve as an early warning and defense system for the other cells. After that, the infected cells move to the lymph nodes and from there they transfer the virus to the T and B cells. Measles virus does not reproduce just like any other common bacteria. In the replication process of measles, a newly synthesized genomic RNA becomes tightly wrapped with an N protein and then provides a helical template for a viral transcription.

Measles has effects and can show symptoms on its host and some aren’t very good. Some of the symptoms measles has on a host are fatigue, fever, pain in all of the body, red eyes, specifically muscles, loss of appetite, malaise, sneezing, running nose, pink eye, dry cough, skin rash, sore throat, sensitivity to light, headaches, diarrhea, ear infection, swollen lymph nodes, and koplik’s spots. Some of the effects it can have on a host are what’s listed above or even worse such as, pneumonia, lifelong brain damage, deafness, and worst of all death. Even with all of these bad effects, there are ways to help it, however, there is no cure. Some of the ways the symptoms can be treated are post-exposure vaccinations, which for non-immunized people, which includes infants, are given a measles vaccination within 72 hours of the exposure to the measles virus.

Immune serum globulin, infants, pregnant women, and weak people who were exposed to the virus are given an injection of proteins. Some medications that are given are fever reducers, which do exactly what they say, reduce fevers, antibiotics, which are prescribed by a physician if the host has pneumonia or an ear infection, and vitamin A, which may lessen the severity of the measles. Some of the things you can do at home are taking it easy, seeking respiratory relief, sipping something, and resting your eyes. You can also get the MMR vaccine which is an immunization for measles, mumps, rubella. The MMR vaccine was discovered by Maurice Hilleman in 1968 in the United States.

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