Planfor Combating Measles Epidemic in Texas
Accordingto the Centers for Disease Control (2011), measles is an airbornecommunicable viral disease. It affects the respiratory system, skin,and immune system. The paramyxovirus from genus Morbillivirus isspecifically responsible for spreading the disease. Early signs ofthe disease include runny nose, fever, sore throat, red eyes, andcough. A rash that spreads throughout the body then follows theinitial symptoms. T has a grace period ranging between seven andfourteen days. The average incubation period is 10-12 days from theday of exposure in many people. Early infection warning includes highfever that may exceed 400 Celsius, red eyes, runny nose, hackingcough, malaise, Koplik’s spots, and appetite loss (Griffin &Oldstone, 2009). Researchers assert that a person can become infectedwith measles through both direct fluid and aerosol if he or she hasno immunity against it. Although the disease is extinct in developednations such as the United States, cases of imported infections arecommon. Patients suffering from measles may succumb to complicationsassociated with the disease such as encephalitis, blindness, earinfections, extreme diarrhea and other associated dehydrationdiseases, as well as serious respiratory diseases such as pneumonia(Griffin & Oldstone, 2009). Approximately 10% of patients thatlack healthy nutrition and access to quality healthcare succumb tothe disease. In expectant mothers, measles can either causemiscarriage or extreme complications. The main technique ofpreventing the disease is through vaccination (Mukherjee, 2010).However, persons who have suffered and recovered from measles acquirelong-term natural immunity from the disease.
Individualssuspecting they could be suffering from measles should consult adoctor for thorough medical examination. If the doctor identifiesconvincing symptoms, he or she may conduct a viral culture or bloodtest to determine presence of the disease (Griffin & Oldstone,2009).
Measlesepidemic in Texas
Thedisease is a case of imported epidemic in Texas. Since there arealready fourteen confirmed cases, an epidemic requires a managementand elimination plan. The Texas Surgeon general will be in charge ofthe disease management plan. However, the surgeon general will haveto seek Secretary General’s approval (National Vaccine AdvisoryCommittee (U.S.), 1991).
a)Declarations and enforcements
Thesurgeon general should enforce the immunization of children belowfive years as they are the most vulnerable to the disease infection.In addition, everyone going in and out of the areas affected by theepidemic will be subjected to mandatory measles screening (NationalVaccine Advisory Committee (U.S.), 1991).
Thesurgeon general should also advise the Texas State Government toeducate the public on effective methods of controlling the diseaseand identifying early symptoms of the disease. All the doctors in theentire state should be put on high alert, on diagnosing patientssuffering measles. Besides, the healthcare professionals shouldeducate the public concerning good healthcare hygiene such ascovering the mouth while sneezing and avoiding getting into contactswith body fluids from infected persons (Griffin & Oldstone,2009).
BexarCounty is the only location that has not reported anyone sufferingfrom the disease. Travelers from other counties should be thoroughlyscreened to avoid importing the disease into the state.
b)Questions to ask a suspected measles patient
1.Have you ever suffered from measles?
2.Do you suffer from any recognized chronic disease?
3.Have you ever taken measles vaccine?
Thesurgeon general should authorize the quarantine of foreign personssuspected to be suffering from measles. Besides, people who hadrecently traveled to regions where the epidemic exist at a high rateshould be quarantined for 10-14 days to confirm that an individual isnot suffering from the disease (National Vaccine Advisory Committee(U.S.), 1991).
c)Identifying high-risk patients and providing them with extra care
Individualssuffering from various chronic diseases such as leukemia, HIV/AIDS,corticosteroid therapy and alkylating agents are all vulnerable tosuffering from the disease. Furthermore, healthcare professionalsshould give extra care to children that are known to children withdefective natural antibodies (Mukherjee, 2010).
Inaddition, healthcare professionals should provide specialized care topersons suffering from malnutrition as they are high-risk patients.Vitamin A deficiency and pregnancy are other predisposing factorsthat medical professionals should observe when identifying andproviding extra care to at-risk patients. The high-risk patientsshould take measles vaccination once more (Griffin & Oldstone,2009).
TheTexas government should establish measles emergency camps throughoutthe state so that suspected patients can easily access care fromexperienced doctors. The rapid response plan should also ensure toprovide medical care to the patient that reside in remote areas.
e)Treatment and elimination
Peoplewho are already diagnosed with measles should be administered withlarge doses of vitamin that is proven to suppress the strength of thevirus. Persons suffering from malnutrition should be provided withhealthy diets and immunity boosting treatment. According to the WorldHealth Organizations, people coming from countries that are mainlyaffected by the disease should undergo thorough medical examinationprior to entering or leaving Texas State (Griffin & Oldstone,2009).
f)Measles epidemic prevention in the future
TheTexas state shall reduce the number of people vulnerable to measlesthrough ensuring everyone has access to healthy diets. In addition,the healthcare professionals should identify high-risk persons andprevent possible contact with persons that may increase theirvulnerability to measles infection.
TheTexas State should collaborate with key stakeholders in majorepidemics control organizations the world such as the World HealthOrganization (WHO), and the Red Cross society to vaccinate as manyadults and children as possible (Mukherjee, 2010).
Theresources required for providing specialized medical care to all thepatient will be provided by both the federal and state government.Both public and private hospitals shall also allocate specializedtreatment location for measles patients. Finally, the Surgeon generalshould encourage the federal government to urge other states toexecute similar disease control techniques.
NationalVaccine Advisory Committee (U.S.). (1991). TheMeasles epidemic: The problem, barriers and recommendations.United States?: publisher not identified.
Mukherjee,A. (2010). UnderstandingEmerging Epidemics: Social and Political Approaches: Social andPolitical Approaches.Emerald Group Publishing.
Griffin,D. E., & Oldstone, M. B. A. (2009). Measles:History and basic biology.Berlin: Springer.