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Measles Exposure at Jefferson Health Facility in Philadelphia

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Dec 25, 2023

Health Department Warns of Possible Measles Exposure at Medical Facility

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health issued an alert on December 23rd warning that an individual with a confirmed case of measles may have exposed others at a Jefferson Health facility in Center City. [1] [2] According to the health department, the exposure occurred in a doctor’s office in the medical office building at 925 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia on December 15th.

Jefferson infectious disease expert Neil Goldstein said “Jefferson Health immediately implemented recommended infection prevention protocols to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff.” [3]

While the health department said the risk of infection is low, measles is an extremely contagious virus that can remain airborne for up to two hours. The health department is urging anyone who was at the Chestnut Street location of Jefferson Health between 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on December 15th to contact their doctor if they develop symptoms consistent with measles within the next few weeks. [4]

Measles Symptoms and Contagiousness

Measles causes high fever, rash, cough, and red, watery eyes and lasts from seven to 14 days. Symptoms typically appear 10–12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days or as late as 21 days after exposure. Measles is spread through coughing and sneezing and the virus can live for up to two hours in the air where an infected person coughed or sneezed. If someone breathes contaminated air or touches a contaminated surface, they can become infected. [5]

According to the CDC, measles is very contagious and about 9 out of 10 people who are close contacts and who are not immune will get measles if they are exposed to the virus. The measles virus can spread from four days before the rash becomes visible to four days afterward. [6]

Symptoms of Measles
High fever Cough
Rash Red, watery eyes
Lasts 7-14 days

Jefferson Implementing Safety Protocols

The health department said Jefferson Health immediately implemented recommended infection prevention protocols after being notified of the potential exposure. The facility performed contact tracing and notified potentially exposed patients and staff. [7]

Jefferson infectious disease expert Neil Goldstein said “Jefferson Health immediately implemented recommended infection prevention protocols to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff.” [8]

These protocols likely include isolating or quarantining the infected individual, requiring masks to be worn, enhanced cleaning procedures, assessing immunity status of exposed staff through blood tests, and restricting access to the facility. [9]

While the risk of infection remains low for those exposed, the health department said that anyone infected would begin experiencing symptoms between now through January 12th. [10]

Health Department Recommendations

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health recommends that anyone exposed self-monitor for symptoms of measles, which could appear as late as January 12th. Anyone with concerns is advised to contact their healthcare provider by phone before visiting a facility to prevent further spread. [11]

People are also urged to make sure they are up to date on vaccinations, including the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective at preventing all three viruses. [12]

The health department said the identification of a single case of measles is not considered an outbreak, but that they will be monitoring the situation. The health department continues to encourage parents to vaccinate their children and for anyone who is sick, especially with a fever, to stay home from work or school. [13]

Measles Cases Nationwide

Nationwide, measles was declared eliminated in 2000 thanks to widespread vaccination, meaning it no longer constantly circulated. But in recent years measles cases have been cropping up again, with major outbreaks of more than 100 cases in 15 states so far this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [14]

The return of measles has been driven by declining vaccine coverage among young children over the past decade. Vaccination coverage has gotten better in recent years, but remains below target levels of 95% coverage needed for herd immunity to measles and prevent spread.

Year Number of Measles Cases Number of Outbreaks States Reporting Outbreaks
2022 667 41 25
2021 2,868 69 29
2020 13 17 11
2019 1,282 44 31

So while vaccination does work very well to prevent infection and limit spread, ongoing vigilance is required as long as coverage rates remain below optimum levels. Continued promotion of measles vaccination is key to preventing outbreaks and eliminating measles transmission again the way it was back in 2000. [15]

The case in Philadelphia remains isolated at this time, but health officials urge anyone exposed to be aware of measles symptoms and call their doctor if they develop. Vaccination remains the best way to prevent measles and outbreaks. Through continued vaccination efforts the virus could again be eliminated as a constantly circulating threat in the United States.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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