Measles Outbreak!

An AAHPO Medical Alert

 

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AAHPO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Lawrence V. Najarian, MD,President

Ted Chaglassian, MD, Past President

Arthur Kubikian, DDS
Vice President


Knarig Khatchadurian Meyer, PhD Corresponding Secretary

Tsoline Kojaoghlanian, MD
Recording Secretary

Garbis Baydar, MD
Treasurer

Louiza Puskulian-Kubikian, DDS
Membership Committee

Khoren Nalbandian, RPh
Parlimentarian

Edmund L. Gergerian, MD
Historian

Aram Cazazian, DDS
Vicken Pamoukian, MD
Terenig Terjanian, MD
Raffy Hovanessian, MD
Kim Hekimian, PhD  


 

 

URGENT: Outbreak of Measles in New York City, Cases in Reported in New Jersey and Connecticut

There is a measles outbreak in our region right now. New York City has confirmed 26 people with measles since the end of February 2014, the second-highest number of cases in the U.S., and part of a widespread outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). There are cases reported in New Jersey and Connecticut as well. Measles is an infection caused by a virus, and can be potentially deadly.

Fortunately, we have pediatric infectious disease specialist Tsoline Kojaoghlanian, MD and infectious disease specialist Mihran Seferian, MD to help us sort it out.

Measles has infected 129 people in 13 states, the most in the first four months of any year since 1996. Only 34 of the cases were imported via travel to other countries, including 17 from the Philippines, where a huge outbreak has affected 20,000 people and caused 69 deaths. There have been no measles deaths reported from the U.S. outbreak.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious infection that is spread through the air. It generally affects young children, causing fever, a runny nose, a cough and a distinctive rash all over the body. About one in 10 children also gets an ear infection and one in 20 comes down with pneumonia. According to the CDC, one or two in every 1,000 cases is fatal.

A person with measles is contagious as long as four days before the symptoms are apparent, and for four days after the onset of rash. Parents, and even physicians, who haven't seen measles in many years may be unaware of the early warning signs, and thus should be vigilant.

The only way to prevent measles in a healthy child or adult is to receive 2 doses of the measles vaccine, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). In the past 20 years, a concerted public health campaign to vaccinate all children at age one year and again at age 4-5 years, has made measles outbreaks rare. The disease has been considered eradicated since 2000. Unfortunately, the number of unvaccinated susceptible children has begun to increase recently (parents choosing not to vaccinate in the U.S., or being unaware of, or unable to get, vaccinations, before arrival in the U.S.), thus increasing the population at risk to acquire measles. There is no specific medication to treat measles, thus prevention is key.

How to Recognize Measles

  • High fever
  • Runny nose, cough, red eyes
  • Rash of tiny red dots beginning at the head and traveling down the body

What to Do if You Suspect Measles

  1. Isolate the patient from contact with others
  2. Contact your pediatrician or family physician (your doctor may have to take special precautions to prevent spreading this highly contagious disease)
  3. Measles is caused by a virus, so there is no antibiotic treatment
  4. Follow the physician's instructions about keeping the patient comfortable, well-hydrated, and out of day care/school/work
  5. The doctor will monitor for secondary complications, such as ear infection or pneumonia

What to Do to Prevent Measles

  1. If your child is older than 12 months, and has not been vaccinated yet, have him/her vaccinated as soon as possible.
  2. The second dose of measles vaccine can be given as soon as 28 days after the first dose, thus if your child happens to be visiting their doctor before 4 years of age, especially if you live in the outbreak areas and/or are planning to travel anywhere outside the U.S., then your child can get the second dose of measles vaccine during that visit.
  3. Every adult should have received 2 doses of the measles vaccine to be considered protected. If you cannot find your records showing the 2 doses, and/or you don't have laboratory confirmation of immunity, get the vaccine as soon as possible.

 

Have More Questions?
Please Call the AAHPO Hotline: 201-546-6166

 

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