CDC issues health advisory about measles outbreak in United States

April 3, 2008
Precautionary steps for dental health-care workers offered.

On April 3, 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Health Advisory regarding measles outbreaks, public health preparedness and control and response in healthcare settings.

Dental health-care workers should make note of the following:

1. Measles is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted by respiratory droplets and airborne spread. The disease can result in severe complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis.

2. The incubation period for measles ranges from 7-18 days.

3. Although measles is no longer an endemic disease in the U.S., it remains endemic in most countries of the world, including some countries in Europe. Large outbreaks currently are occurring in Switzerland and Israel.

4. All dental health-care personnel should have documented evidence of measles immunity on file at their work location.

5. DHCP unable or unwilling to be vaccinated as required or recommended should be educated regarding their exposure risks, infection-control policies and procedures for the facility, and the management of work-related illness and work restrictions (if appropriate) for exposed or infected DHCP.

6. During a measles outbreak, additional vaccine recommendations should be considered: health-care facilities should strongly consider recommending one dose of MMR vaccine to unvaccinated health-care personnel born before 1957 who do not have serologic evidence of immunity or physician documentation of measles disease.

7. Health-care providers should maintain vigilance for measles importations and have a high index of suspicion for measles in persons with a clinically compatible illness who have traveled abroad or who have been in contact with travelers.

For more information, go to OSAP.

To read more about precautions for health-care providers, go to vaccines.