Thursday, April 11, 12 -1 PM CT - Measles: Current Updates for a Renewed Threat

As of April 4, 2024, a total of 113 measles cases were reported by 18 jurisdictions: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, New York State, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

The CDC is tracking the outbreaks and updates their information weekly.

This virus represents a challenge to emergency medicine because it is very highly infectious and has rarely been seen in emergency departments in the recent past.

Please see the ACEP fact sheet about this disease for a review of its presentation, clinical course and implications for your emergency department

  • Measles, one of the most contagious infectious diseases (infecting up to 90% of susceptible people who are exposed), is showing up in the United States, primarily in the unvaccinated and immunosuppressed.
  • If there is a case in the emergency department, it is likely that everyone in that area has been exposed.
  • High fever, conjunctivitis, cough and coryza (runny nose) often precede the characteristic rash. Koplik spots (a pathognomonic enanthem in the oral cavity) may or may not be visible.
  • Patients who present with possible measles should have a PCR test performed, and if immunosuppressed, they may be a candidate for immunoglobulin.
  • Though not common, patients may develop pneumonia or encephalitis, and deaths have been reported. Years later, a few patients may develop Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE).

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