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Listen: How to assess measles

The Montgomery County paramedic podcast discusses basic information on clinical presentation, transmission of the measles virus

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By EMS1 News Staff

Measles, once a widespread disease, was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 due to high vaccine rates across the country. However, in recent years, pockets of measles outbreaks have occurred in various states, due to lower vaccine rates and infected individuals traveling to the U.S.

As emergency medical personnel, it’s possible you will be called to care for a patient who exhibits measles symptoms, and it’s important to know how to recognize the disease, how to treat it and how to protect yourself.

Measles symptoms

Measles is an acute viral respiratory illness characterized by:

  • Fever (as high as 105°F)
  • Malaise
  • Cough
  • Coryza
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Pathognomonic enanthema (Koplik spots)
    Maculopapular rash

In the U.S., one in four people infected with measles will become hospitalized, and one to two people out of 1,000 will die from the disease. Measles are spread easily, and most common symptoms include a fever, rash, runny nose and red eyes.