Measles Cases Rise Dramatically
February 1, 2019, we reported on the alarming increase in measles cases in the United States. Regardless of where you stand on vaccinations, the situation is becoming more and more significant.
Between January 1-31, 2019, 79 new cases of measles had been reported across the country. In contrast, only 86 cases were reported in ALL of 2016. Followed by 120 cases in 2017, and 372 in 2018. To date in 2019, 228 individual cases of measles have been reported in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York. Cases have been classified as outbreaks in California, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington state. Outbreaks thus far are linked to international travelers who brought the virus back from countries like Israel where major outbreaks are occurring. If, as a nation, we continue on this pace, we are on track to see in excess of 1200 cases of measles in one year.
Remember, measles is an airborne disease and all healthcare workers (who breathe) should be immune to the disease -- not only to prevent themselves from acquiring the disease, but also to prevent the spread of disease to patients and family members, particularly during the prodrome phase. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90%of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. Infected people can spread measles to others from four days before through four days after the rash appears.
Following are Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) position statement and recommendations on healthcare worker vaccination
CDC states, "healthcare workers (HCW's) are at risk for exposure to serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. If you work directly with patients or handle material that could spread infection, you should get appropriate vaccines to reduce the chance that you will get or spread vaccine-preventable diseases. Protect yourself, your patients, and your family members. Make sure you are up-to-date with recommended vaccines." Healthcare workers are defined by CDC as "physicians, nurses, emergency medical personnel, dental professionals and students, medical and nursing students, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, hospital volunteers, and administrative staff."
Following, please find CDC recommendations for MMR vaccination
If you were born in 1957 or later and have not had the MMR vaccine, or if you don’t have an up-to-date blood test that shows you are immune to measles or mumps (i.e., no serologic evidence of immunity or prior vaccination), get 2 doses of MMR (1 dose now and the 2nd dose at least 28 days later)
If you were born in 1957 or later and have not had the MMR vaccine, or if you don’t have an up-to-date blood test that shows you are immune to rubella, only 1 dose of MMR is recommended. However, you may end up receiving 2 doses, because the rubella component is in the combination vaccine with measles and mumps.
Although birth before 1957 is considered acceptable evidence of measles, rubella, and mumps immunity, health-care facilities should consider vaccinating unvaccinated personnel born before 1957 who do not have laboratory evidence of measles, rubella, and mumps immunity; laboratory confirmation of disease; or vaccination with 2 appropriately spaced doses of MMR vaccine for measles and mumps and 1 dose of MMR vaccine for rubella. Vaccination recommendations during outbreaks differ from routine recommendations for this group
Please be certain your team are immune to all disease potentially acquired in the workplace. As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me or any member of our team!