Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ich Habe Die Masern!

German Measles (Rubella)
German measles is a mild viral illness caused by the rubella virus. It causes a mild feverish illness associated with a rash, and aches in the joints when it affects adults. The major reason for any attention being devoted to the eradication of this condition is the nasty effects that it has on the unborn baby (known as a fetus), when a pregnant woman catches it in early pregnancy.

This is a fine, pink rash spreading from the forehead and face downwards. The rash may last for 1 to 5 days. There are often some of the glands (lymph nodes) enlarged, especially behind the ears and on the back of the head. Adults often feel more unwell before the rash appears, and may have pains in the joints rather like arthritis.

The cause is the rubella virus. The incubation period, from exposure to the appearance of the rash, is usually 14 to 21 days.

This is usually made on the basis of the story and the symptoms and signs. Laboratory tests are unlikely to be of practical value except in a pregnant woman. The widespread testing of women during pregnancy has shown how unreliable the diagnosis can be. Many women who have been told categorically that they have had it prove to be negative on the blood test, and vice versa.

Very little treatment is necessary, but it consists essentially of symptom relief eg. for pain and fever.

Why am i devoting a whole 5 paragraphs to this topic? Because I am SUFFERING with the dang disease right now and i just feel it fitting to inform all of you reading this of what I am going through (moan ... groan ... scratch ... scratch!). I knew nothing about German measles before I got it, but one thing I know for sure now and am so thankful for is -- PRAISE GOD I AIN'T PREGNANT!

Who would have thought these tiny, harmless looking pink itchy dots which are not at all troublesome (except for the occasional headache and cough), could cause so much damage to a fetus of a pregnant woman?

If a woman gets rubella in the early months of her pregnancy, her chance of giving birth to a deformed baby may be as high as 80%. These babies may be born deaf or blind. They may have damaged hearts or unusually small brains. Many are mentally retarded. Miscarriages are also common among women who get rubella while they are pregnant. The last big rubella epidemic was in 1964. As a result of that epidemic about 20,000 babies were born with severe birth defects.

Hello! Why didn't i know of this information before? Why didn't any of my doctors warn me of this kind of virus so that i would have taken an MMR shot earlier on? What if I was pregnant when i got this virus? (shudder, shudder!) What if ... what if? Of course, right now, all these no longer matter. I have it and I am not pregnant. And hopefully none of the people I came in contact with these past days aren't pregnant either.

That would be horrible.

So ladies reading this, if you suspect you're pregnant and we may have beso-beso-ed or I may have sneezed on you (unintentionally, of course!), please get that check-up now! Best to know ahead of time.

Though I didn't agonize these past three days as much as I did when I had dengue in 2002 and chickenpox late that year, having German Measles isn't exactly a pleasant experience either. Muscle pains, fever, itchy rashes, a cold and a cough aren't great bedmates. German Measles, Rubella, or however you want to call it -- Es ist nur einfache Schei├če!

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