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HelixTalk Episode #101 - Measles, We Have a Problem

Date posted: September 10, 2019, 6:00 am

In this episode, we will be discussing the recent updates in measles outbreaks, where the vaccination recommendations stand, and other preventative strategies.


Key Concepts

  1. Measles is one of the most contagious pathogens; fortunately, the two-step measles vaccine provides extremely high efficacy (>95%) against infection.
  2. Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 but has since seen a resurgence with more than triple the cases by July 2019 compared to the entire year of 2018.
  3. The hallmark diagnosis of measles is the three C's -- cough, coryza (runny nose/congestion), and conjunctivitis (pink eye). Koplik spots (blue-white plaques in the buccal mucosa) appear several days after symptom onset in about 70% of patients.  Rash may also occur 3-5 days after symptom onset.
  4. There is no treatment for measles aside from supportive care, making prevention via vaccination so important.  Complications of measles can include ear infection, diarrhea, hospitalization, pneumonia, encephalitis, miscarriage, and death.