Medical Workers on Edge about the Measles Outbreak

In 2000, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) stated that the Measles were no longer a danger to the US and that the only way it could potentially ever be a threat again is if it was brought onto American soil by an international traveler. Unfortunately, a mere 15 years later, the Measles are now spreading at a frightening pace across the country as a result of the outbreak that took place in Disneyland in December 2014. Doctors, Nurses, Medical Assistants and other employees in the medical field who are at most risk for exposure given the nature of their work are now bracing themselves for the worst.

According to a recent CDC report, 102 people from 14 states have already contracted the highly contagious virus. The Measles spread through coughing and sneezing, and the incubation period is usually symptom-free, which means that by the time symptoms actually do present themselves several weeks after exposure, many others have already been exposed.

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Compounding the situation is that the symptoms can be easily mistaken for a sudden case of the flu, causing many parents and children to underestimate the condition. Coughing, runny noses fevers, and sore throats are common, but the Measles can degenerate into ear infections, otitis, diarrhea and even death. The virus will affect approximately 9 out of 10 unvaccinated people who are exposed, regardless of age.

The CDC issued a health advisory several weeks ago to alert those working in the medical field to prepare for the incoming tide of infections. Since the Measles is a virus and not a form of bacteria, it cannot be fought with antibiotics and the best course of action is vaccination prior to infection.

Presently, roughly 92% of the population has been vaccinated. There is a now a nationwide push for children and adults who have not been vaccinated to do so immediately to prevent the virus from continuing to spread. For those already affected, managing the symptoms is the only real “treatment” available.