The first measles outbreak of 2015 has grown to 121 cases in 17 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with most of those cases associated with a large, ongoing outbreak linked to an amusement park in California. The one measles case reported in Texas so far this year was not linked to the California outbreak, where officials believe an unknown traveler contracted the disease overseas and visited the park while infectious.
The CDC updates measles case information weekly and notes that the majority of those infected with measles in this outbreak were unvaccinated.
Because measles is still common in many parts of the world and travelers continue to bring the disease back to the United States, public health officials urge physicians and other health care professionals to consider measles when evaluating patients with febrile rash and to ask about a patient's vaccination status, recent travel history, and contact with persons who have febrile rash illness.
Reminders for physicians:
- Ensure all patients are up-to-date on the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
- Consider measles in patients presenting with febrile rash illness and clinically compatible measles symptoms (cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis).
- Ask patients about recent international travel or travel 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 Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) at (800) 705-8868. Here's a list of local health department contacts in Texas.
- Obtain specimens for testing from patients with suspected measles, including viral specimens for genotyping, which can help determine the source of the virus.
For information about collecting and submitting specimens to the DSHS laboratory, visit the DSHS website.
Get TMA's Vaccination Resources for Patients
TMA's Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program offers free vaccination fact sheets to help physicians educate patients and send the message that vaccinations are safe, important, and effective. The childhood vaccination fact sheet includes information about the MMR vaccination.
Fact sheets also are available on adolescent vaccinations, adult vaccinations, flu, pertussis, human papillomavirus (HPV), and meningococcal disease. To request free copies of these fact sheets for your patients, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA's outreach coordinator, at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1470, or (512) 370-1470. Or use the Be Wise order form to request additional educational materials, such as posters for your office.
Be Wise — Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians and the TMA Alliance. Funding for Be Wise — Immunize is provided by the TMA Foundation thanks to generous support from H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, Permian Basin Youth Chavarim, and gifts from physicians and their families.
Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
Action, Feb. 17, 2015