Measurement of IgM antibodies against the measles virus is used to determine acute viral infection and as an adjunct to the identification of non-immunized individuals.
The measles virus (Rubeola) is a member of the Paramyxovirus family (single-stranded RNA viruses), which also includes mumps virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and parainfluenza viruses.
Measles infections usually occur during childhood. In industrialized societies, dangerous complications are rare, but in less developed countries - especially inadequate nutrition - the measles virus poses a serious risk to children.
Humans are the only known natural hosts of the measles virus. The virus is transmitted through respiratory secretions (either by direct contact with the fluids from the nose and mouth of an infected person or by the formation of droplets in the air) and is highly contagious.
Following the invasion of the virus into the pharynx and its proliferation in lymphoid tissues (incubation period 4–12 days), the disease occurs in two phases. The first symptoms (catarrhal stage) may be cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis accompanied by fever for at least three days. Subsequently, the oral mucosa shows redness and also tiny Koplik white spots. Thereafter, the fever may increase again (it can reach up to 40°C) and the typical measles rash is observed (generalized macular rash, often itchy, initially on the head and then the body).
Possible complications of the disease include otitis in the form of bacterial infection, pneumonia, and encephalitis.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.