UK GCSE level age ~14-16, ~US grades 9-10 Biology revision notes re-edit 16/05/2023 [SEARCH]

 Communicable diseases: 7. Viral pathogens - measles and chicken pox

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(7) Examples of viral pathogen communicable diseases

(7a) Measles is a viral disease spread by droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs.

The primary symptoms are a red skin rash and a higher than normal body temperature from a fever.

The measles virus causes a red, blotchy rash that usually appears first on the face and behind the ears and then spreads downward to the chest and back and finally to the feet.

Measles is a childhood infection caused by a virus, although once quite common, measles can now almost always be prevented with a vaccine (in the MMR 'jab').

Measles is treated by taking painkillers for any aches, pains or fever,  get plenty of rest, drinking plenty fluids and avoiding harsh light if your eyes hurt.

Measles virus infection can be a serious medical condition and even fatal if complications develop e.g. a lung infection like pneumonia or the brain infection encephalitis.

Most people are adequately protected if you are vaccinated when young.


(7b) Chicken pox is caused by a virus - typical symptom is a spotty rash.

When a person has become infected with this viral pathogen, it takes nearly 14 days for the rash to appear, this time is called the incubation period.

The chicken pox virus cause an itchy blister-like rash and raised lumps on the skin - the blisters form scabs which eventually fall off.

Symptoms include aching joints, headache and cold-like symptoms such as a cough.

It is very contagious, but can be prevented by vaccination.

The patient needs to be isolated from people as much as is possible!


See also Viruses - structure, reproduction and cell destruction


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