The Return of the Measles

just gotta do it, u know

The New York Times underlines one of the worst parts of the recent resurgence of measles in America (16 outbreaks and 500 reported outbreaks in the last five months, mostly affecting people who were unvaccinated by [someone’s] choice):

Given the earlier success of the measles eradication campaign, most patients and their doctors no longer know how to recognize the disease. Patients, unaware that they are ill with such a contagious disease, go to hospitals and clinics assuming that the providers there will know what to do to help them.

But most practicing doctors, myself included, have never cared for a patient with measles. Confronted with a patient suffering from a fever, red eyes, runny nose, cough and blotchy rash, we don’t even think of measles, let alone order the dramatic precautions necessary to prevent its spread, like mandating facial masks, isolating patients in rooms equipped with specialized ventilation systems and reporting to appropriate infection control experts.

And because measles was virtually nonexistent in the United States until this year, many clinicians still assume that patients are vaccinated against the disease and therefore not susceptible.

More on this topic at Newsweek (““Mumps, measles and rubella do not scare me,” she adds, despite having heard that measles kills about 450 people each day around the world”) and the Washington Post. [NYTimes]