CDC Issues Warning to Healthcare Workers as Measles Cases Increase
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning to healthcare workers to remain on high alert for measles cases due to a growing number of infections. From December 1, 2023, to January 23, 2024, there have been 23 confirmed cases of measles across several states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Washington, D.C. area.
What is concerning about these cases is that most of the infected individuals were children and adolescents who had not been vaccinated against measles, despite being eligible. The CDC notes that this is a common trend, as most measles cases in the U.S. occur when unvaccinated or partially vaccinated Americans travel internationally and contract the disease.
According to the CDC, the recent increase in measles cases in the U.S. reflects a global rise in infections. They warn of a “growing global threat” and emphasize the importance of healthcare providers being vigilant for patients with febrile rash illness and symptoms consistent with measles who have recently traveled abroad.
To effectively combat the spread of measles, the CDC advises suspected measles patients to be isolated immediately, tested, and for local or state health departments to be notified. Additionally, close contacts should receive post-exposure prophylaxis, and anyone who is not up to date on their measles vaccinations should be vaccinated.
Measles is highly contagious, with each infected individual capable of spreading the disease to up to 10 close contacts if they are unprotected. Complications from measles can range from relatively benign rashes to more severe conditions like viral sepsis, pneumonia, or brain swelling. Those who have either had measles or received two doses of the MMR vaccine are protected against the disease.
It is worth noting that in 2000, measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. However, outbreaks have occurred in unvaccinated pockets of the country in recent years. Previous outbreaks in Ohio and California have highlighted the importance of vaccination in preventing the spread of measles.
As the number of measles cases continues to rise, healthcare workers play a vital role in identifying and treating infected individuals. It is crucial that they remain vigilant and follow the CDC’s guidelines to prevent further spread of the disease.
“Infuriatingly humble tv expert. Friendly student. Travel fanatic. Bacon fan. Unable to type with boxing gloves on.”