A disease once thought to be eradicated in the United States has quietly resurfaced. After it was thought to be completely eliminated in the United States in beginning of the 21st century, measles outbreaks are once again on the rise (Crane, 2011). Recent outbreaks of measles in America are directly related to the increase of international travel accompanied by the decrease in percent of measles vaccinated citizens. This phenomenon has the United States experiencing the highest reported number of measles cases in nearly two decades (Crane, 2011). The resulting migration toward tertiary prevention in contrast with prior secondary prevention of measles has increased the amount of healthcare dollars being used toward this disease in the United States. Increasing the amount of people vaccinated against measles nationwide could eventually result in eradication in the United States.
Measles is an acute viral respiratory infection caused by a polymyxovirus commonly called the Measles Virus. Transmission from person to person is through close contact with droplets from the respiratory system of an infected person. These droplets can remain contagious on surfaces contaminated by an infected individual for up to 2 hours. After contact, the virus has an incubation period of 6-19 days before it’s characteristic rash appears. Infected individuals are contagious from 4 days before the rash appears and up to 5 days after symptoms subside (Watkins, 2011). In the initial prodromal stage of infection, people will display high fevers, hacking coughs, runny noses and red painful conjunctiva of their eyes. Often times these symptoms lead people to shrug it off as a cold or the flu. After a few days, infected persons then experience blue or white spots in their mouths known as Koplik’s spots. Finally, a few days later, the rash appears and people begin to realize what has been plaguing them for the last week; measles. In some cases, measles... [continues]
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