Eye on Superbugs--Special Report: Measles

Child with measles10.31.14

Written by: Selective Micro Technologies

According to the World Health Organization, “Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.” Since this disease is now prevalent again, causing elevated illness and death in individuals, it was determined to be a bug that would be good for our “Eye on Superbugs” series this week. Let’s explore this disease and why all of a sudden children are dying from a disease that was once considered completely eliminated in the United States.

The Measles: What are they?

Measles, also known as Rubeola, is a virus, more specifically, of the genus Morbillivirus and family Paramyxoviridae. Since this virus is of the single serotype variation, once someone has had the disease and survived, they now have lifelong immunity against the disease. This disease causes a rash known as “Koplik’s spots,” which are found in the mouth on the inside of the cheeks. There is also a generalized rash that can be seen spread all over the body. Other common symptoms of the measles are fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes (conjunctivitis). Measles can cause the following if the disease is not appropriately treated: deafness, blindness, encephalitis, diarrhea, dehydration, and pneumonia.

The CDC reports that, as of August 2014, there have been 18 outbreaks resulting in at least 594 cases of the measles in 22 states. This is considered to be a record number of cases since 2000. Why is this happening? According to the CDC, these outbreaks have been occurring due to the fact that the disease is being brought in from foreign countries (mostly the Philippines in 2014) and is affecting unvaccinated communities. These are people who voluntarily have chosen not to receive the MMR vaccine for any number of reasons, whether personal or religious beliefs.

Vaccination Works

The vaccine showed a reduction of the number of people infected by 99%. This brought the number of people in the U.S. infected from 3 to 4 million down to around 50 or so cases per year, essentially eradicating this disease until just recently in 2014. In 2012, 122,000 people died of the measles, and most were children under the age of 5.It is a travesty to see so many young children die of a disease that has been proven to be prevented by vaccination; further, the attributable, enveloped virus can be easily disinfected against using products which meet efficacious hospital disinfectant standards and those listed according to EPA’s Antimicrobial Testing Program (ATP).

For some interesting additional information about the measles read “Forget Ebola. This is the viral epidemic that should really terrify Americans,” by Gwynn Gilford here.

Also, click here for a picture of what Koplik’s spots look like.

Fast facts on the measles:

  1. Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
  2. It is a very infectious respiratory disease, which is spread when someone sneezes or coughs.
  3. The disease produces a rash after being contracted.
  4. There is a vaccine available to prevent this disease known as MMR. It is given in two doses.


Measles Infographic


Chlorine Dioxide is a superior disinfectant