ACEP Press Release: Emergency Departments Prepared for Measles Outbreak

The American College of Emergency Physicians has issued a press release in response to the recent outbreak of measles in the United States. All ACEP members should be on alert to identify measles cases, and the press release states that emergency departments are fully prepared to handle the outbreak.

To date, 1 case of measles has been diagnosed in Illinois.

The full text of the ACEP press release follows. View press release from ACEP

February 5, 2015

WASHINGTON — The nation is dealing with the worst measles outbreak in more than a decade.  Once again — and reminiscent of the recent Ebola crisis — the nation’s emergency physicians are working to track and treat another infectious disease in the midst of a severe flu season. The president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) says emergency departments are fully prepared to handle it.

“ACEP has notified all of its members to be on alert to identify measles cases,” said Michael Gerardi, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP.  “As is typical in the winter, we see many patients with fevers – some have flu and this year, some will have measles.  We are equipped to identify, isolate and treat measles patients and provide valuable information to the relevant health agencies.”

Measles is an extremely contagious and serious illness.  About three out of 10 people who get the measles virus will develop one or more complications from it, including pneumonia, ear infections or diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than a dozen states have reported cases since it was first linked to an amusement park in California several weeks ago.  Just to put things in perspective, measles worldwide killed 10 times as many people last year as Ebola did.

For the latest on the current measles outbreak, please go to http://www.acep.org/measles/.

Reports that several patients involved in this measles outbreak were unvaccinated once again highlight the importance of making sure children receive all of the necessary immunizations on the medically-recommended schedule. Emergency physicians see patients every day who are not appropriately immunized, and that has a potential impact on other emergency patients with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing chemotherapy.  Because vaccine-preventable infectious diseases have an effect on the health of adults and children, ACEP promotes vaccination for anyone non-immunized or under immunized.

“Vaccinations are essential to decreasing the risks of serious diseases and infections, like the measles” said Dr. Gerardi. “These vaccines not only help keep children safer and healthier, but they also help stop the spread of deadly, preventable diseases.”

The nation’s emergency physicians urge all parents and guardians to work with their primary care physicians, including pediatricians, to make sure everyone in their family is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations and to set up a vaccination schedule.

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ICEP - Illinois College of Emergency Physicians
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Telephone: 630.495.6400 | 888.495.ICEP
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