CDC Request for Measles Outbreak Support

PUBLISHED: Mar 1, 2019
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requesting assistance from healthcare providers to ensure that all patients are up to date on the MMR vaccine. According to the CDC, when it comes to vaccinations, parents trust the expertise of their doctor more than anyone else. The CDC is urging providers to explain to patients that MMR vaccine is the best protection against measles infection.

From January 1 to February 21, 2019, 159 people from 10 states (CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, KY, NY, OR, TX, and WA) have been reported as having measles. Six outbreaks (defined as 3 or more linked cases) have been reported, in Rockland County, New York; Monroe County, New York; New York City; Washington; Texas; and Illinois. Of these outbreaks, 2 outbreaks are ongoing from 2018.

The CDC is recommending the following:

  • Send an e-mail blast to patients alerting them to the current outbreak and the importance of MMR vaccination.
  • 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.

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