Measles is a viral illness characterized by a prodrome of cough, coryza and conjunctivitis (the 3 “Cs”) followed by the development of maculopapular rash. It generally causes a severe illness for which people seek medical care. Many healthcare providers in the United States have never seen measles, as it is quite rare here. However, measles is occasionally imported into the United States by unvaccinated travelers, which can lead to outbreaks.
If you suspect measles, call the public health authority in the patient’s county of residence. Call the reporting line at 800-535-5016 ext. 541.
Isolate—Measles is highly contagious. To prevent exposure to other patients, immediately isolate a patient with suspected measles.
- Instruct reception/phone/triage staff to identify patients who present with symptoms of possible measles. The patient must be told to enter through a back door wearing a mask or be seen outside away from other patients.
- Room the patient immediately and close the door. Do not use the room until 2 hours after the patient leaves.
- Ensure that all staff who will have contact with the patient have documented immunity to measles.