Considering measles cases in the United States have been surging to numbers not seen since 1992, infectious disease experts are urging hospitals and EDs to devise response plans that they can trigger quickly should a patient with measles present.
Measles and mumps are back ... and not in a good way. Until now, many clinicians had only heard of these almost-eradicated diseases. Unfortunately, the reality is clinicians may see children with these diseases. It is critical to identify them early, recognize potential high-risk exposures, and manage the disease and its complications effectively. Involvement of public health resources and early appropriate isolation are necessary to limit the spread of these two infections. The author provides a timely review of all critical aspects of both of these diseases.
It is expensive to respond to and control measles outbreaks in the United States. Primary outbreak prevention should focus on vaccination of travelers and encouragement of routine vaccine acceptance by those who currently are hesitant to have their children vaccinated.
There are many emerging infections for which the emergency physician must remain clinically vigilant. Although many infections may not represent true emergencies, it is important for ED providers to understand the epidemiology, presentation, and treatment of some of today’s common and life-threatening infections.
Even workers with a history of measles vaccination or immunity should wear an N95 or equivalent respiratory protection when examining or caring for patients with suspected or confirmed measles, says Shruti K. Gohil, MD, lead author of a recent study on the issue and associate medical director of Epidemiology & Infection Prevention at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.