Podiatric Practices Should be Aware of Measles Outbreak


Podiatric physicians should be aware of disease outbreaks in their community, especially airborne transmissible diseases such as measles.

As of January 30 the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) confirmed that the number of measles cases in the state has grown to 91 California residents with a number of additional suspected cases under investigation.

Infected individuals range in age from seven months to 70 years. The vaccination status is documented for 34 of the 68 cases  ̶  28 patients were unvaccinated (six were infants too young to vaccinate), one patient had received only one dose of the MMR vaccine and five had received two or more doses of MMR vaccine.

The California measles patients reside in 12 local health jurisdictions: Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange, Marin, Riverside San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Ventura Counties and the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, and is followed by a rash that spreads all over the body. About three out of 10 people who get measles will develop one or more complications including pneumonia, ear infections or diarrhea. Complications are more common in adults and young children.

CDPH advises physicians that because there have been new cases of measles in persons who have not been international travelers or visited theme parks, measles should be considered in patients of any age who have a fever and a rash. Fever can spike as high as 105° F. Measles rashes are red, blotchy and maculopapular and typically start on the hairline and face and then spread downwards to the rest of the body. Physicians should also obtain a thorough health history on such patients, including prior immunization for measles.

If you suspect your patient may have measles, isolate them immediately and alert your local health department as soon as possible. If measles is suspected (see CDPH infection control guidance), do not allow suspect measles patients to remain in the waiting area or other common areas. For additional infection control information, please see the CDC “Guideline for Isolation Precautions.”

Post-exposure prophylaxis can be administered to individuals who have come into contact with an infected patient within 72 hours of exposure (MMR vaccine) or up to six days after exposure (immune globulin - intramuscular). Please consult with your local health department regarding appropriate administration.

Click here for more information on the measles outbreak from the California Department of Public Health.