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Detecting and Preventing Measles


There are many viruses that can infect humans. Common ones include mumps rubella and the measles. One virus that seems to have the occasional outbreak in the United States is measles which is caused by the Rubeola virus. It is spread by air droplets and is very contagious. There is a vaccine available for measles that helps prevent future sickness.

Most new cases in the United States involve people who have not gotten the vaccine. In order to be diagnosed you will need to submit a blood sample to the lab where a medical laboratory scientist ( can run tests to determine if you have the illness.

In order to diagnose if you have the measles you will need to be seen by a doctor. The symptoms that you will have include a cough fever and a rash. In some cases the measles can lead to pneumonia bronchitis or even death. Symptoms will show up around 10-12 days after exposure.

A rash is a sign you have the virus but many doctors do not know the signs of measles since the virus has seen a drop in the number of cases seen per year. In order to get fast and accurate results doctors will order laboratory testing. When it comes to disease and viruses the laboratory plays a crucial role.

An early detection can prevent a potential outbreak. Testing the patients blood for the presence of the virus is the quickest way to get results. There are other ways to test for the virus including testing throats swabs urine and a nasopharyngeal aspirate. Culturing these specimens does not offer great results and can be time consuming.

Most doctors will chose to test the blood from a patient to determine if the patient has the measles because results will come back much sooner.In order to determine if a patient has measles a blood sample will need to be taken. This is done usually after a rash has appeared.

The sample will be taken to the laboratory and tested for the presence of antibodies specific to the measles virus. Antibodies circulate throughout the body and are present after your body has been exposed to a virus. An antibody is formed in response to a foreign body. They are a part of the body's immune response.

There are two specific antibodies that are tested for the measles virus and they are IgM and IgG. They are present in blood 3-4 days after your symptoms appear. The IgG antibody will appear shortly after symptoms appear and will remain in your body forever.

The detection of IgM antibodies indicates a current infection and a fourfold rise of IgG between the onset of the rash and 30 days after indicates an infection. The measles virus is a serious illness and can affect communities if not detected early. A often forgotten piece of an outbreak is the laboratory.

Medical Laboratory Technicians are the people who perform testing on patients who have measles. Medical Lab Technicians are capable of performing many different tests and can help diagnose many different illnesses and potentially can stop an outbreak with an early diagnosis of a virus. Without these laboratory workers there would be a lot more outbreaks and a lot more sickness.

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