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close this bookTreating Measles in Children (Document & Slides) (WHO, WHO - VAB; 1997; 60 pages)
View the documentACKNOWLEDGMENTS
View the documentINTRODUCTION TO THE SLIDE SET AND BOOKLET
close this folderPart 1. EPIDEMIOLOGY
View the document1. Case definition
View the document2. Extent of the problem 1 - disease and death
View the document3. Extent of the problem 2 - long-term illness
View the document4. Who gets measles?
View the document5. Risk factors for severe complicated measles
View the document6. Vitamin A deficiency and severe complicated measles
View the documentSummary of Part 1
open this folder and view contentsPart 2. NATURAL HISTORY OF MEASLES
open this folder and view contentsPart 3. CASE ASSESSMENT AND CLASSIFICATION
open this folder and view contentsPart 4. TREATING COMPLICATIONS
open this folder and view contentsPart 5. GENERAL MANAGEMENT
open this folder and view contentsPart 6. PREVENTION
View the documentAppendix A. Questions for use by facilitators
View the documentAppendix B. Evaluation of measles case management
View the documentAppendix C. Drug doses for treatment of measles
 

6. Vitamin A deficiency and severe complicated measles


Slide 6 - Deaths from measles according to age and vitamin A status

Vitamin A deficiency affects the body's immune system and the cells which protect the lining of the lungs and gut. The damage it causes results in an inability to control and prevent infections. Vitamin A deficiency is linked with a higher rate of measles complications and a higher death rate.

The association between vitamin A deficiency levels and death from measles is shown in this slide from Zaire. Children under two years of age with measles infection who also had a very low vitamin A level had double the risk of dying compared to children with higher levels.

In the USA, where clinical vitamin A deficiency is very rare, measles cases in children with low vitamin A levels have been associated with an increased risk of admission to hospital and severe disease. Vitamin A therapy reduces the rate and severity of complications, particularly croup, pneumonia and diarrhoea. The duration of hospital stay is reduced in children given supplements of vitamin A.

Vitamin A therapy as part of the case management of measles is discussed in slides 44-45.

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