It’s back. The Measles that is. The sometimes deadly disease previously infected 3 to 4 million people a year, mostly children, prior to the development of a vaccine in 1963. In 2000 it was declared eradicated from the United States. Now a mere 19 years later it’s back in the US and as recent scare highlights, potentially back in our schools.
704 people have been confirmed infected nationwide. New Jersey has 14 confirmed and one outstanding case suspected. NYC has had over 400. Measles is so highly contagious that 90% of non-vaccinated people exposed will become infected. Outbreaks put a strain on local health-care systems which require negative pressure rooms, additional cleaning measures and more staff precautions causing expensive and time consuming delays in health care systems.
Last month, officials in one Ocean County school system sent a letter home warning of a student potentially infected with the disease. It turned out, thankfully, the student did not in fact have measles.There have also recently been suspected exposures at a restaurant and hospital in Monmouth Co. and a trampoline park in Middlesex Co.
The letter sent home by that Ocean Co. School stated staff would “increase cleaning protocols to ensure that surfaces such as desktops and door handles are thoroughly disinfected”. While Measles is usually transmitted via airborne exposure it can live on affected surfaces for up to 2 hours.
What can be done to prevent Measles transmission?
- Immunization is the best defense against Measles
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or a hand rub with at least 60 % alcohol.
- Infection mitigation staff should use cleaners registered to combat enveloped-viruses.
- Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid sharing items contaminated by saliva or respritory secretions.
Infection Control Technologies, (ICT) a division of Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is one of the nation’s leading Building Hygiene contractors. ICT provides Facility Hygiene Services and Emergency Decontamination for some of the nation’s most respected real estate and Risk Management Professionals, Health Care, Municipalities, Institutions, Food Safety, Transportation, and government organizations.