A Brief History of Measles

EpidemioLogical

According to the best evidence we have, measles makes its appearance somewhere between the 11th and 12th Centuries when the measles virus diverged (separated) from the rinderpest virus (a sort of measles of cattle that has been eradicated through vaccination). This probably happened when cattle herders spent just a little too much time with their cattle somewhere in the Middle East.

Before we go any further, you need to understand that measles is highly infectious. It’s, like, really infectious. One person can infect up to 18 other people, and the virus floats in the air for up to two (maybe four) hours where an infectious person has been. What’s worse, a person is infectious 3 to 5 days before the onset of the typical measles rash, and 1 to 2 days before the onset of fever. This means that a perfectly healthy-looking person can go around spreading measles and…

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