Can You Spot the Measles? Outbreak 2014 Update and Resources

May 30, 2014

More than 1 in 7 of the 288 measles cases reported so far this year have led to hospitalization, according to a press release from the CDC. The respiratory disease is serious and highly contagious. Make sure you are familiar with the signs and symptoms. More, here.

As the number of US measles cases reaches record numbers, all healthcare providers must be vigilant in efforts to ensure maximum vaccination rates in their offices and to educate all office/clinic personnel in what to watch for.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases stresses that “Many US healthcare providers have never seen or treated a patient with measles because of the nation’s robust vaccination efforts and our rapid response to outbreaks.” This underscores the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms before the rash appears.

You can find a quick review of the prodrome at Measles: The Key 5 Signs and Symptoms.

Following are highlights from a CDC press release (May 29, 2014) and a list of resources for healthcare professionals provided by the Immunization Action Coalition.

Measles Cases 2014

  -- 288 cases of measles reported to the CDC between January 1 and May 23, 2014

  --  Nearly all cases have been associated with international travel by unvaccinated US citizens

  -- The virus has spread rapidly to other unvaccinated members of the community where the traveler resides

  -- Many clusters of measles began after travel to the Phillipines where an outbreak has been ongoing since October 2013

  -- 97% of the 288 reported cases were associated with importation from 18 countries

  -- More than 1 in 7 cases have led to hospitalization

  -- 85% of US residents who were not vaccinated reported religious, philosophical, or personal reasons against vaccination  

  -- Healthcare providers must use every patient encounter to ensure patients are current with vaccinations, and especially before international travel

  -- Know the signs and symptoms and detect early!!

The CDC advises that if you suspect that a patient has measles, immediately isolate him or her to help prevent transmission, report the case to your local health department, and collect specimens for serology and viral testing.

Online Resources from the Immunization Action Coalition

-- MMWR Early Release: Measles-United States, January 1–May 23, 2014

-- CDC press release: Measles cases in the United States reach 20-year high

-- Prevention of Measles, Rubella, Congenital Rubella Syndrome, and Mumps, 2013: Summary Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

-- Transcript and audio recording of CDC's May 29 telebriefing: CDC to announce record-breaking year in reported cases of measles in the United States

-- IAC's measles handouts for healthcare professionals, patients, and parents

-- IAC's Diseases and Vaccines: Measles web section

-- CDC's Measles (Rubeola) for Healthcare Professionals web section

-- CDC Feature: Measles: Make Sure Your Child Is Fully Immunized

-- CDC's Travelers' Health: Measles web section

-- CDC's Travelers' Health: Measles in the Philippines web section