This year has been particularly scary when it comes to measles: the World Health Organisation reported nearly 424,000 cases worldwide up to September. It's really important that you check that you have been vaccinated. (If you can't remember, ask your parents, or if you see a regular doctor, they should have the records.) In the meantime, arm yourself with the facts: 1. Measles can kill. It can also cause blindness, pneumonia, brain inflammation, ear infections and severe diarrhoea . It also affects the immune system for months, leaving victims open to super infections which are very difficult to treat. 2. The risk of death and serious complications from measles is higher for adults (and infants) than it is for children. 3. Measles is a highly infectious airborne disease, spread through sneezes and coughs, and close personal contact. The virus remains active in the air or on infected surfaces for up to two hours University students are at increased risk, and should have a double dose of the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. The MMR is very safe and highly effective, with very few, mild side effects, and you can be vaccinated at any age. 4. The best cure is prevention by vaccination. The double vaccine is more than 90 per cent effective. Climate change is causing diseases like dengue to flourish - like we needed another reason to change our habits 5. The early symptoms of the disease mimic influenza - high fever, runny nose, cough, and red, watery eyes. The signature rash may take as long as five days to appear after the first symptoms are noticed. Measles is contagious from four days before the rash appears until four days after. 6. Measles is a virus, so antibiotics won't help. This also means that there is no specific cure. All doctors can do is manage symptoms and complications. These might include a bacterial infection. 7. While the measles virus is related to several others that infect animals, measles itself is not spread by any other animals than humans. This article was curated by Young Post .