Thursday, February 5, 2015

Measles

The United States is currently experiencing a large, multi-state outbreak of measles linked to an amusement park in California. The last confirmed case of measles in Maine was in 1997. 

On January 23, 2015, US CDC issued a Health Advisory to notify public health departments and healthcare facilities about the multi-state outbreak and to provide guidance for healthcare providers nationwide (http://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00376.asp).

Measles is highly contagious and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles can cause serious health complications, such as pneumonia or encephalitis, and even death. Children younger than 5 years of age and adults older than 20 years of age are at high risk of getting a serious case of measles. About 1 in 4 unvaccinated people in the U.S. who get measles will be hospitalized; about 1 in 500 may die.

Guidance for healthcare providers
  • Ensure all patients are up to date on measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine.
  • Consider measles in patients presenting with febrile rash illness and clinically compatible measles symptoms (cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis), and ask patients about recent travel internationally or to domestic venues frequented by international travelers, as well as a history of measles exposures in their communities.
  • Promptly isolate patients with suspected measles to avoid disease transmission and immediately report the suspect measles case to the health department.
  • Obtain specimens for testing from patients with suspected measles, including viral specimens for genotyping, which can help determine the source of the virus. Contact the local health department with questions about submitting specimens for testing.
For more information, go to http://www.cdc.gov/measles/ 

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