Prevent Recent Measles Outbreak from Spreading

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Centers for Disease Control urges vaccination and awareness to prevent recent measles outbreak from spreading
February 11, 2015

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported 84 cases of measles since Jan. 1 in 14 states, most of which are part of a large outbreak linked to a California amusement park. Measles was declared eliminated (absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months) from the United States in 2000. This was possible thanks to a highly effective vaccination program and better measles control in the Americas region. However, with the recent outbreak throughout the U.S., the CDC recommends that health care providers consider measles as a diagnosis in anyone with a fever, rash and other compatible symptoms who recently traveled abroad or had contact with someone with similar illness.

Patients with suspected measles should be isolated and suspected cases immediately reported to the local health department, according to a recent CDC advisory. Providers also should ensure that patients are up to date on the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine, the agency said. Most of this year’s cases involve children or adults who were not vaccinated or were not sure of their vaccination status. The U.S. last year reported 644 measles cases in 27 states, the most since endemic measles cases were eliminated in 2000. Many of the 2014 cases were linked to travelers to the Philippines, where a large outbreak was occurring.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes, and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. About three out of 10 people who get measles will develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections, or diarrhea. Complications are more common in adults and young children.

For more information, or if you notice similar symptoms, please contact the Greeley County Family Practice Clinic at 620-376-4251 or the Wallace County Family Practice Clinic at 785-852-4230. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has photos and information about measles at http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about.html

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