Executive Summary

A large, multi-state outbreak of measles is prompting EDs around the country to bolster their screening procedures and provide education to staff, most of whom have never seen a measles case. Dozens of people in more than 17 states have been confirmed to have the disease, with most of these cases associated with an outbreak that began at an amusement park in southern California.

• Measles is extremely contagious, infecting nine out of 10 people exposed to the virus if they are susceptible to the disease.

• In cases in which a contagious disease is suspected, experts advise emergency providers to protect themselves before proceeding to the traditional vital signs. It’s a concept referred to as “vital sign zero.”

• Once a measles case is confirmed, experts say emergency staff should isolate the patient with protection such as an N-95 mask, and inform both the hospital’s infection control department and public health authorities.