4.2.1  Definition, cause and occurrence of measles

Note that (unlike bacteria, which have two-part species names) the names of most viruses are simply the disease it causes followed by the word ‘virus’, as in ‘measles virus’.

Measles is a highly transmissible infectious disease caused by the measles virus. Globally, measles kills more children than any other vaccine-preventable disease. In 2008, there were around 165,000 deaths from measles worldwide – most of them in young children and almost all of them in low-income countries. Because the virus is so easily transmitted, you should be aware that it usually causes an epidemic and may cause many deaths, especially among malnourished children. In Ethiopia, measles occasionally causes epidemics. Almost 5,000 children suffered from measles in 2009 and 2,726 cases had already been confirmed in 2010 by early July of that year. However, it is estimated that deaths from measles can be reduced by more than 60% through effective vaccination programmes.

4.2.2  Mode of transmission of measles