Apr 1, 2015

Health Officials Confirm Case of Measles in Florida

By on 5:32 AM

The Florida Department of Health has confirmed the state's first case of measles this year in an international traveler became ill while on a business trip.

The infected person was attending a conference in Kissimmee for two days but did not attend any theme parks. While he mainly spent time at the conference in Osceola County, he also spent time in Miami-Dade, Orange and Sarasota counties.

The traveler was hospitalized between March 20-24 in Miami and after recovery left Florida by plane on March 25. Emergency rooms in the areas that he visited during the incubation period are aware of the case and are watching for other suspected cases.

Measles is one of the most contagious communicable diseases that spreads via the respiratory/droplet route. It has resurfaced this year, with four outbreaks in 17 States and the District of Columbia, and a reported 178 people with the disease as of March 27, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The primary case is thought to be an international traveler who visited Disneyland in California.

Parents of unvaccinated children as well as unvaccinated adults born after 1957 should be quarantined for 21 days after a known or suspected exposure to someone with measles. With the surge of cases since the beginning of the year, the push to promote vaccination, particularly in children, is in full swing.

Unfortunately, unfounded, non-scientific based information regarding childhood vaccines causing autism and other disorders has increased the exposure risk of individuals who are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons and is resulting in the loss of community immunity.

Healthcare professionals should suspect measles in unvaccinated patients with the following signs and symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis) and sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek — also called Koplik's spots
  • A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS), which is based in Delray Beach, Florida. Phenelle has more than 30 years experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes to implement and maintain an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission (TJC), Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies, respond to situations of noncompliance, and improve the processes for reducing risk.


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