February 12, 2015

Measles update from VUMC Department of Infection Prevention and the Occupational Health Clinic

The United States is currently experiencing a large, multi-state outbreak of measles that is believed to have originated in a California amusement park. The outbreak started in December, 2014, and has spread to more than a dozen other states. To date, there have been 114 cases reported.

Measles is one of the most contagious infectious diseases and presents as an acute viral respiratory illness. It is characterized by a prodrome of fever and malaise, followed by cough, coryza (nasal discharge), and conjunctivitis (the three “C”s), a pathognomonic enanthema (Koplik spots), and a maculopapular rash (see pictures of measles rash here).

In light of this outbreak, the VUMC Department of Infection Prevention and Occupational Health Clinic remind you of some important steps to prevent measles transmission at VUMC.

All VUMC healthcare providers should:
• Consider measles in patients presenting with a febrile rash illness and clinically compatible measles symptoms, especially if the person recently traveled internationally or was exposed to a person with febrile rash illness
• Ask about their patient's vaccine status, recent travel history, and contact with individuals who have febrile rash illness
• For any suspected measles case:

  1. Place patient on airborne precautions and into a negative pressure room IMMEDIATELY. All persons who enter the room must wear an N95 respiratory or PAPR. Limit room entry to only essential personnel
  2. Notify the VUMC Department of Infection Prevention at 835-1205 (24/7) immediately

• Check the Health and Wellness Information Portal to see if their measles immunity/vaccination status is up-to-date. Testing for measles antibodies post-vaccination is not recommended.

Please be advised that these issues are evolving and advice may change as new information arises. For questions or additional information, please contact the VUMC Department of Infection Prevention at 936-0725 or via pager 835-1205. More measles FAQs are available at www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/infectioncontrol.

(Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)