Posted on March 29, 2019
Measles is one of the most infectious diseases; up to 9 out of 10 susceptible persons with close contact to an infected person will develop measles. The number of cases is increasing in the U.S., from January 1 to March 21, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 314 confirmed cases of measles across 15 states. That total is more than 80% of the 372 cases reported during all of 2018. Measles is still common in many parts of the world, including Europe, Asia and Africa. In the U.S., international travelers with measles continue to spread disease and the majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated. These factors make measles a key area of focus for infection prevention teams for the foreseeable future.
As an infection preventionist, once measles is identified in the healthcare setting, you know that you’re dealing with a highly contagious virus that is transmitted by direct contact with infectious droplets or by particles in the air that can remain infectious for up to two hours even after an infected person has left the area. With that said, timeliness is critical and facilities need to identify infectious patients as early as possible.
When a case occurs in a healthcare facility, many extensive measures must be taken immediately including:
It’s a lot to manage as an infection preventionst, especially when other healthcare-associated infections also take center stage. A new research study presented at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) 45th Annual Conference demonstrated the importance of an integrated infection prevention response during a large Minnesota measles outbreak. The study concluded that an integrated system response including use of standard processes and leveraging the electronic health record for real-time information sharing allowed the organization to adjust prevention strategies in a timely way, leading to effective control of the outbreak. The key capability to improve effectiveness of interventions: being able to respond in real-time.
This study highlights why an infection prevention and control plan is critical. The following are three key ways clinical surveillance technology can give your team an advantage and help prepare for a measles or another potential infectious disease outbreak such as the one experienced in Minnesota:
Clinical surveillance technology for infection prevention empowers your team with technology to respond in real-time to prevent the spread of measles. An integrated approach along with real-time information sharing that keeps all stakeholders up-to-date on risks and prevention strategies is critical for outbreak containment, and for the general safety of all patients, visitors, and staff.
About the Author
Mackenzie Weise, MPH, CIC, Infection Prevention Clinical Program Manager
Mackenzie is a trained Epidemiologist with over 10 years of experience in the areas of infectious diseases, data analytics, and health informatics with a demonstrated proficiency in translating data to improve epidemiologic investigation, health care decisions, clinical processes, and patient outcomes.
She is a member of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) at the national and local levels and is Certified in Infection Control by the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology. Mackenzie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science from Winston-Salem State University and a Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology from the George Washington University.