A Plan in Place for Measles
A Plan in Place for Measles
We have heard a lot about measles lately as the number of measles cases
in the U.S. continues to climb. While at this time, there is no currently
known risk to measles in Tulare County, we want you to know what you can
do to protect yourself or your child. We also want you to know what we
are doing to keep you safe from a potential measles exposure while you
are at a Kaweah Delta location.
Here’s what you should know:
- Measles are highly contagious and spread through coughing, sneezing and
contact with secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected
person. In fact, the measles virus can stay in the air for up to two hours,
so you can get infected by being in a room where an infected person recently visited.
- Measles symptoms start with a fever of greater than 101 degrees, a cough,
a runny nose and watery, red eyes. Three to five days after these symptoms,
a rash begins to appear on the face and spreads over the entire body.
- The best protection against measles is measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
This is given in two doses; the first when a person is 12 to 15 months
old and the second when a person is 4-6 years old. If you do not have
evidence that you have had MMR vaccine, it is recommended that you call
your doctor to get vaccinated.
At Kaweah Delta, we have spent time working with others in the Central
Valley to prepare for a possible exposure or, worst-case scenario, an
outbreak. Following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, all of our Kaweah Delta locations now have signs outside
of them with instructions for people who suspect they have measles, have
recently been exposed to measles, have been out of the U.S., or have a
rash. The goal is to get care to those who need it immediately, yet in
a responsible manner to prevent exposure to any of our patients and visitors.
If this happens, it would not be uncommon for our staff to wear facemasks,
as well as ask our patient to wear one. We would set up “measles
stations” where patients could receive the care they need in a safe,
private, and comfortable place.
As a team, the staff and physicians at Kaweah Delta are always working
to provide the highest level of patient care because it is the right thing
to do for our community. Our team has been closely following the rise
of measles cases, and working behind-the-scenes to put systems and processes
in place to make sure we are ready when we need to be. We have been thoughtful
in our plans to protect our patients, our visitors, and our community
against measles. Now we encourage you to advocate for yourselves and for
loved ones to make sure they are vaccinated and know what to do and what
to expect if they think they may have been exposed.
Daniel Boken, M.D., FAAP, FACP, FSHEA, is Infectious Disease Medical Director
at Kaweah Delta and Chair of the Infection Control Committee.