Child diseases - Measles

You have probably heard of the measles, it is a common childhood disease.
Measles is an infectious disease and one of the most contagious diseases that exist. In the Netherlands, most children are vaccinated against measles. The vaccine is in the BMR vaccination and is offered to children aged 14 months and 9 years. This vaccine also protects against mumps and rubella.

How are you infected?

The virus is mainly in the nose, mouth and throat. Measles is transmitted by drops of fluid that are exhaled or spread by sneezing and / or coughing by someone who is infected. The time between getting infected and getting sick is 7 to 14 days. Usually it is 10 days. People can already infect each other from 4 days before the spots begin. They remain contagious up to 4 days after the spots appear.

Symptoms Measles

It starts with fever, cough, eye infection and nasal cold. After about two to four days, red spots appear. If you are unlucky, the virus can also cause middle ear infection and diarrhea. In the most severe cases it can cause pneumonia, seizures or brain inflammation. Fortunately that does not happen that often.

Great exception

In very rare cases, measles cause an inflammation of the brain that, on average, only starts 7 years after the illness, and is always fatal. Young children, adults and people with reduced immunity have a greater risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract the disease than healthy children of primary school age.

Who can get the measles?

Anyone who has never had it can get the disease, even if you have had a vaccination. Only that is less. Have you ever had them? Then you will never get the measles again.


The chance of death in patients with measles is less than 1 in 1,000 cases in the Netherlands. Approximately 330 children per day die in developing countries in developing countries.
Before the introduction of measles vaccination in the Netherlands in 1976, almost everyone in the childhood age went through measles. Hundreds of thousands of patients were in the Netherlands every year. Since the introduction of vaccination, the disease is much less common, usually around 10 cases per year.

Increased risk

There are people who can get worse from the measles, such as:
babies, people with a reduced immune system and pregnant women.
Very young children (

How long does the disease last?

A child with measles usually cures after 7 to 10 days.

Care and treatment

To prevent as much contamination as possible, use a paper handkerchief that you throw away immediately after use. Do you have to cough? Then cough in the crease of your elbow.
Always wash your hands after sneezing and coughing.

Measles usually pass automatically so that medication is not necessary. Does your child have a high fever or worse symptoms? Always consult the doctor. If your child gets middle ear infection of the disease, he will receive medication for it.

If your baby has measles, tell the teacher or toddler teacher. They can inform other parents in consultation with the GGD. Parents can then pay attention to the complaints of measles in their child.

Going to school with measles?

Chances are that your child will feel sick for school for a few days. If he feels better, he can just go to school. The disease is contagious from 4 days before to 4 days after the development of the skin rash, so home use no longer helps to prevent spread.

Measles and pregnancy

There are indications that pregnant women have an increased risk of a serious course of measles. The passing of measles during pregnancy is not associated with an increased risk of congenital abnormalities. However, passing measles during pregnancy can in rare cases lead to spontaneous abortion or preterm birth.

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