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Measles outbreak underscores need for continued vigilance in health care settings
Date:4/28/2011

[EMBARGOED FOR APRIL 29, 2011] The U.S. measles vaccination program has been successful in eliminating endemic measles in the United States; yet this success has provided challenges that require ongoing vigilance for the rapid identification and response to measles cases in health care settings. In 2008, the largest reported health care-associated measles outbreak in the United States since 1989 occurred in Tucson, Arizona, costing approximately $800,000 in response and containment efforts. In a report published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases and available online, researchers identify preventive measures hospitals and health care facilities can implement to reduce the likelihood and decrease the economic impact of a future measles outbreak in these settings.

Due to a highly effective vaccine and high vaccine coverage, measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000; however, the potential for measles infection still exists in this country. Non-adherence to U.S. vaccination recommendations and infection among unvaccinated travelers coming into the United States continue to pose potential threats to the public and to health care personnel. In the 2008 Tucson outbreak, an unvaccinated, infected Swiss traveler visited a hospital emergency department on February 12. The traveler was admitted to the hospital the next day, but a measles diagnosis was not confirmed until February 20. This ignited an intense and lengthy public health investigation and response to persons with suspected and confirmed measles as well as contacts of those persons.

From February 13 through July 21, 2008, there were 363 suspected, 8 probable, and 14 confirmed measles cases in Tucson. All 14 confirmed case-patients were unvaccinated. Seven of the 14 cases were classified as health care-associated infections, and 6 of those cases occurred in a single hospital. Health care-associated transmission included transmission from patient to health care p
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Contact: John Heys
jheys@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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