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U.S. Measles Outbreak: What Nurses Can Do

Tuesday, March 26, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Roy Muyinza
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From January 1 to March 21, 2019, 314** individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 15 states, including 14 cases in Texas. In a given year, more measles cases can occur for any of the following reasons: an increase in the number of travelers who get measles abroad and bring it into the U.S., and/or further spread of measles in U.S. communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.

What Should Nurses Do

  • Discuss the importance of MMR vaccine with parents. Listen and respond to parents’ questions. When parents have questions, it does not necessarily mean they won’t accept vaccines. Sometimes, they simply want your answers to their questions.
  • Ensure all patients are up to date on measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine.
    • Children need 2 doses of MMR: one dose at 12-15 months and another dose at 4-6 years
    • Before any international travel, infants 6-11 months need 1 dose of MMR vaccine, children 12 months and older need 2 doses separated by at least 28 days, and teenagers and adults who do not have evidence of immunity against measles need 2 doses separated by at least 28 days.
  • Consider measles in patients presenting with febrile rash illness and clinically compatible measles symptoms (cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis), and ask patients about recent travel internationally or to domestic venues frequented by international travelers, as well as a history of measles exposures in their communities.
  • Promptly isolate patients with suspected measles to avoid disease transmission and immediately report the suspect measles case to the health department.
  • Obtain specimens for testing from patients with suspected measles, including viral specimens for genotyping, which can help determine the source of the virus. Contact the local health department with questions about submitting specimens for testing.

Information courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more, including guidelines for patient evaluation, diagnosis and management, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/measles/hcp/index.html


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