As of Feb. 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 121 cases of measles in 17 states, including Illinois and Michigan.
Even though no cases of measles have been identified in Indiana, state health officials are urging you to consider a measles diagnosis in anyone meeting the following criteria:
- Fever of 101º
- Cough, coryza or conjunctivitis
- Generalized maculopapular rash
Measles is contagious from four days before rash onset to four days after the rash resolves.
The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) advises you to isolate patients presenting with symptoms and report cases immediately to the local health department.
Recently, the ISDH issued this directive:
“In order to prevent the spread of measles in Indiana, those without adequate immunity to measles will be excluded from attending public activities (school, daycare, work, community events) for at least 21 days if they have been exposed to a case of measles.”
Read the alert here.
Talking to patients
In Indiana, an estimated 92 percent of children between 12-15 months have received the MMR vaccine, according to the ISDH. But while state law requires all children be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases like the measles, the law does provide exemptions for religious beliefs.
|Sarah Bosslet, M.D.,
Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Sarah Bosslet, M.D., ISMA member and vice president of the Indiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, noted that physicians of all specialties play a part in discussing the importance of immunizations.
“Parents will ask any doctor they know and trust about vaccination, not just the pediatrician,” said Dr. Bosslet. “All physicians can use this opportunity to emphasize the importance of vaccination for both individual and community health protection. Studies show that a physician recommendation for vaccination is the single most important factor in maintaining high vaccination rates."
Dr. Bosslet said physicians can make a difference with patients who are hesitant to vaccinate their children.
“In my discussions with parents, I often say, ‘Today, the vaccines we will give are X, Y and Z.’ Then, I ask if they have any questions,” explained Dr. Bosslet. “Research shows that when doctors take a more hesitant tack, then compliance rates are much lower.”
CHIRP registration reminder
The web-based Children and Hoosiers Immunization Registry Program (CHIRP) is a free statewide program designed to help you and other health care providers track immunization records of all Hoosiers. The database maintains information on millions of patient records and vaccinations.
However, beginning July 1, you will be required by law to enter immunization data in CHIRP. Find details on the CHIRP website or call (888) 227-4439.
The ISDH offers an immunization Q & A for patients here.
Find other helpful resources here and the CDC.