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

li>delayed implementation of infection-control procedures in health care settings with patients/personnel experiencing respiratory symptoms,
  • delayed implementation of isolation procedures in health care settings with patients with an illness clinically compatible with measles, and
  • delayed diagnosis of cases by health care personnel and delayed laboratory confirmation due to lack of awareness of measles.

    In an accompanying editorial, Stephen M. Ostroff, MD, of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, calls the report a sobering wake-up call for health departments and hospitals across the country. Recounting the percentage of health care personnel who lacked immunity to measles in the Tucson outbreak, Dr. Ostroff concludes that the same situation most likely exists among other U.S. hospital personnel. International travel and the decision by some individuals to opt out of vaccination increase the risk of future outbreaks, he notes.

    The editorial emphasizes major challenges in measles in the post-elimination era in the United States: late diagnosis of cases and delayed reporting to the health department. Prompt reporting of the suspected case could have prevented the spread of infection and minimized the expense incurred to investigate the outbreak, notes Dr. Ostroff, who adds that it is essential to prevent health care personnel from acting as vehicles of infection transmission to others by ensuring that all staff are appropriately vaccinated unless they have other acceptable evidence of measles immunity.

    Fast Facts:

    • Measles is a highly infectious viral disease spread by droplet transmission. It was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000.

    • At the time of the 2008 measles outbreak in Tucson, Arizona, 30 percent of health care personnel at seven Tucson community hospitals did not have documentation of evidence of measles immunity.

    • The Tucson outbreak cost about $800,000 in resp
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    Contact: John Heys
    jheys@idsociety.org
    703-299-0412
    Infectious Diseases Society of America
    Source:Eurekalert

    Page: 1 2 3 4

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