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Measles Outbreak California

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Task 2 C228

Melody Bennett RN        

Western Governors University


Measles Outbreak California Dec. 2014 to Feb. 2015

Description of the Outbreak

I chose to report on the measles outbreak from December 2014 to February 2015 that was traced back to visitors to one of the Disney theme parks in California. By February 11, 2015 it had spread to 7 other states and to the countries of Mexico and Canada. (CDC, 2015). It was discovered on January 5, 2015 when the California Department of Public Health was notified of a hospitalized 11 year old unvaccinated patient, whose rash appeared on December, 28, 2014. (CDC, 2015). There were a total of 125 measles cases with rash that occurred during the December 28, 2014 to February 8, 2015 time frame. These were the confirmed US residents connected to the outbreak. (CDC, 2015). The measles is a very contagious virus and is spread through droplet transmission. It starts with a runny nose, red eyes, cough and fever. Then a red rash appears that starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. (CDC, n.d.).   

Epidemiological Determinants

                The exact source of this outbreak was not identified but there were epidemiological determinants that impacted the measles outbreak. The MMR vaccine is very effective in preventing the disease. If you receive two doses of the vaccine it is 97% effective in preventing the disease and if you receive one dose it is 93% effective (CDC, n.d.).  It is noted in the Measles Outbreak article by the CDC, that 110 of the 125 cases where California patients and of those 45% were unvaccinated. (CDC, 2015).  Being unvaccinated clearly increases your risk for contracting the disease. Furthermore, measles is known to spread easily in areas that are crowded and people are in close proximity to each other. That perfectly describes a Disney park at Christmas time. In Addition, U.S. residents can be exposed to the measles here at home at places that attract large numbers of international visitors such as Disney theme parks and airports. This is why it is important to ensure high vaccination rates here in the United States.(CDC, 2015).

Effects of the Outbreak on a Community

        I live in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri called Wildwood which is part of a bigger area called West St. Louis County. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services 95% of all Kindergartners in the state of Missouri were appropriately immunized with two doses of the MMR vaccine for the 2018- 2019  school year and 98% of eighth grade students received two doses of the MMR vaccine for the 2018-2019 school year (MDHSS, n.d.). So, from that data it appears that St. Louis as a whole has high vaccination compliance and I can conclude that a measles outbreak here would be unlikely. But, we do have an international airport and some tourist attractions that draw international visitors to our area which does pose a risk to being exposed to the disease.  

        We have 4 large hospitals in our area and 2 nationally recognized pediatric hospitals in our city that would effectively manage those affected by the measles. Health care workers would need to be briefed on the signs and symptoms of the disease and advise all patients presenting to the ER to wear a mask. Isolating patients would also be a priority. Potentially hospitals would need to increase their staffing numbers. The media would play a key role in keeping the public updated and educated on the measles virus, its signs and symptoms and where to seek treatment.



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