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A Comprehensive Look at Measles


On Tuesday, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) confirmed there were 3 more reported measles cases, bringing the total number to 8 in that area.1

This does not include the ongoing outbreaks happening around the United States. As of March 7, 2024, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a total of 45 measles cases in 17 states.2

One of the ongoing issues is that these are not just one-off cases but as Saskia Popescu, PhD, recently wrote, these is transmission happening.

In local communities this can present a real problem explains, Patricia A. Stinchfield, RN, MS, CPNP, president, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID).

“When those rates go below 95%—and this is really about in a specific community, what is the rate in the daycare? What is the rate in a high school? In a city? In a state?” Stinchfield explained. “To just take a big global number and say that’s pretty high, we’re good, is not okay. When a local community gets below 95%, that gives measles an ability to make an entrance and spread in that community.”

She also makes the point that there are people who are vulnerable to measles including babies who are too young to be immunized, those who are immunocompromised, and people who are on various therapies that might make them more susceptible to the disease.

Interview Highlights

4:12: Likelihood of people developing severe measles

8:13: Groups that are more at risk for contracting measles

10:50: Vitamin A treatment

14:27: Is the MMR vaccine still efficacious in protecting people post-exposure?

17:27: Should anyone get vaccinated again?

Contagion spoke to Stinchfield in a wide-ranging interview, and she discussed rising case rates, the symptoms and severe effects of measles, how NFID led the charge on getting more clinicians to offer vitamin A treatment, and strategies to prevent the disease.

To learn more about measles prevention, treatment and clinical resources, check out the NFID site and its dedicated measles section.

[Contagion covered some of the challenges associated with the ongoing measles outbreaks.]

References

1. Measles Update: Chicago Department of Public Health reports three new cases, continues efforts to curb spread. Chicago Department of Public Health. March 12, 2024. Accessed March 13, 2024.
https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cdph/provdrs/health_protection_and_response/news/2024/march/cdph-press-release-03-12-2024.html

2. Measles. CDC. Updated March 7, 2024. Accessed March 13, 2024.

https://www.cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html



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