After seeing several measles cases in visitors, we now have the first confirmed locally acquired measles case in a Florida resident. It is imperative to review what we know about this highly infectious but vaccine-preventable disease and remain vigilant, as new cases may be a possibility.
Measles is a highly contagious disease, transmitted by respiratory aerosols when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus can live for up to two hours on surfaces or in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed. The incubation period ranges from 7-21 (average 10-12) days and an individual can pass the virus to others before feeling ill.
– Fever (up to 105°F)
– Cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis
– Erythematous maculopapular rash typically appears behind the ears and forehead with cephalocaudal progression (neck to arms to trunk to legs)
– Rash peaks 3-4 days and starts fading by day 5 in the same order as lesions appeared
– Koplik spots—on the oral mucosa (usually opposite to 2nd molar) These spots are pathognomonic but not always visible
Remember to Identify, Isolate, and Inform
Identify: Suspect measles if you observe any of the signs and symptoms above.
Isolate: Immediately isolate individuals you suspect of measles; consider what rooms can be used in your facility for this purpose and have surgical masks of appropriate sizes available to place on individual.
Inform: Report suspect measles cases to the county health department immediately (www.floridahealth.gov/DiseaseReporting). Local health department staff will conduct a contact investigation and provide guidance as needed.
The best way to prevent the spread of measles is to ensure full MMR vaccine coverage in our community. Identify and offer vaccine to patients that have not received the full series (www.cdc.gov/measles). Thank you for your help in keeping our community safe and healthy.
Anna Marie Likos, MD, MPH
State Epidemiologist and Director,
Division of Disease Control & Health Protection