A lot can change in 16 years. That’s an obvious statement to any of us who have been around for more than a couple of decades, but it’s been well-illustrated by the spread of measles in the United States. In 2000, the US declared that measles had been eliminated in the country1, and annual cases dropped from approximately 500,000 cases a year to no more than 220 diagnosed cases annually. In fact, the year 2004 saw just 37 cases.2
But what’s happened since? In 2014, the US experienced a record number of post-elimination cases—644—and, in 2015, the Disneyland outbreak brought the spread of measles to the national forefront. Now, in 2016, some experts are expressing concern that we may be heading back to the endemic spread of measles in the country. In a recent article, Vincent Iannelli, MDreported that “more and more, cases don’t seem to have a source that is easy to find, which could mean that the endemic spread of measles has returned in the United States.”2 For instance, in Memphis Tennessee, two unrelated cases of measles could not be traced back to an infection source.
Measles demonstrates why it’s so essential for facilities to vigilantly continue to require all healthcare personnel, including occupational visitors, to be vaccinated against measles and other infectious diseases whenever possible. Facilities also need to be respond quickly in the event of potential exposure in order to stem any possible outbreaks.
Through the use of the IntelliCentrics managed services platform, facilities can track who is in their facility and where they’ve been. This function enables infection control or security to contact anyone who has been potentially exposed to a communicable disease.
You can rely on our experience; we have proven success with this service. In just one example, in May 2015, a hospital in Northern Virginia had a patient with a confirmed case of measles. The hospital alerted our team. In just a couple of minutes, we were able to inform over 2,000 commercial visitors who had been in the facility the same days and times as the measles patient of the potential exposure. Once alerted, the vendor reps could confirm their immunity status to measles.
Being vigilant makes a difference in stopping the spread of infection. We all play a role.