In 2000, measles was declared eliminated in the United States. Since that time though, the annual number of cases in the United States has increased. This increase is due to a combination of factors. Measles remains prevalent in other parts of the world and travellers with measles can bring the disease to the US. People who are unvaccinated comprise most US measles cases and are the most susceptible to the virus.
Measles cases must be treated in isolated environments within a hospital setting.
It’s important to be aware of how contagious measles is. It is spread by infectious droplets that are released into the air from coughing and sneezing and can live in the air for up to two hours. Nine out of ten non-immune people with close contact with the virus will contract measles.
There are many complications that come from the measles virus. Common complications include diarrhoea, otitis media, bronchopneumonia and laryngotracheobronchitis. More serious complications include acute encephalitis resulting in permanent brain damage, respiratory and neurological complications resulting in death and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, which is a fatal degenerative disease of the central nervous system. These more serious complications are more likely to happen to infants over the age of 5, adults under the age of 20, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.
There is no specific cure for measles and medical care is necessary to help relieve symptoms such as bacterial infections. Patient isolation is imperative as it will help prevent the virus from spreading to susceptible individuals.
Measles Isolation Requirements
The CDC requires that patients who pose a risk for transmission to others are placed in a single patient room when available. Single-patient airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) are listed as the preferred placement areas for patients with measles
Furthermore, the CDC recommends that those infected with measles individuals be isolated for four days and that healthcare professional entering the isolated space use airborne infection control precautions.
Increasing Patient Isolation Capacity in Healthcare Settings
Converting rooms into CDC-compliant, surge capacity isolation rooms
The number of AIIR rooms within a hospital is often limited and when an infectious disease outbreak occurs in healthcare facilities must create negative-pressure surge capacity rooms to accommodate patients.
To create temporary AIIR’s hospitals can use in-room HEPA air purification units. Products from Abatement Technologies HEPA-CARE® line are specifically designed to apply the principles for isolation of infectious patients in healthcare settings.
The HEPA-CARE® HC800F Air Purification System is certified to capture 99.99% of microscopic particles 0.3 microns in size. This is a floor model equipped with easy-rolling swivel casters, which makes it ideal for turning tight spaces into negative pressure isolation rooms. If the desired room does not have adequate floor space, hospitals can opt for the HEPA-CARE® HC800C Ceiling-Mounted Air Purification System. These items work well combined with the Single Room Pressure Monitor RPM-RT1, which measures the air pressure relationships between multiple rooms or areas.
For a detailed look at how these systems work together to create an isolation room, refer to this demonstration of modes of operation.
Treating measles in the United States and planning for surge-capacity
It is critical that hospitals are prepared to treat any patients infected by a contagious virus.
For more information on patient isolation and products or to speak with an Abatement Technologies product, specialist click here.