Measles (Rubeola) for child
Although not compulsory, measles vaccine is obtainable free from clinics. Contrary to popular belief, measles is a serious disease and can cause complications such as pneumonia, encephalitis and chronic lung disease. It also lowers the body’s resistance to disease and makes the child more susceptible to tuberculosis and other illnesses. Children who are not well-nourished can easily slip below the borderline and develop kwashiorkor after measles. Even well-fed children lose a lot of mass and deaths from complications following measles are very common, even in children over the age of ten. In infants the death rate is extremely high and although the vaccine works better if given over the age of a year, children who are at risk of getting the disease should have the injection at six or seven months. A booster dose should then be given at 15 months. In normal circumstances the injection should be given at 15 months when it is most effective. No booster is needed. Although there should be no side effects, treat as for DPT.
Measles vaccine can be given at any age if not given at 15 months, but should not be given in cases of leukaemia or Hodgkin’s disease, if the patient is on steroid drugs or has an immune deficiency or is allergic to eggs. A child who has had a convulsion or fit should not have the vaccine. The child who has been vaccinated against measles may have a moderately raised temperature and slight rash for a few days.
MMR – combined measles, mumps, rubella (German measles) vaccine.
Although mumps is not a particularly severe disease, it can have complications particularly in older patients. Rubella or German measles can have disastrous effects on unborn babies if the mother contracts it early in pregnancy, so it is wise for all children to be immunised.
MMR vaccine is obtainable from your doctor and he will advise you about the best time for your child to have it. It is usually given around 15 months so that the measles vaccine is given at the best time. A single injection provides lifelong protection. A woman having either the rubella injection against German measles or the combined injection should not become pregnant for at least three months afterwards. The MMR vaccine is not free and the same precautions as for the measles injection should be followed.
Smallpox vaccination is no longer required since the disease has been eradicated worldwide.