Measles Resources Guide

AAOHN encourages occupational and environmental health nurses (OHN) to educate their employees and managers about all communicable diseases, especially diseases like measles when there is an outbreak that has involved the disease’s transmission by adult workers.  The organization always advocates for prevention first and foremost, but the OHN needs knowledge of the disease, its transmission and steps to take should an exposure occur.   Ensuring that the emergency preparedness plans are current is a key, and for those OHNs who work in a healthcare setting reviewing and updating their infection control program is critical.  OHNs with global responsibilities need to pay close attention to the World Health Organization’s Global Alert and Response.

AAOHN is providing you with resource links from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with a  short narrative related to various links on the CDC website. The CDC is a trusted organization that is the premier source of communicable and vaccine-preventable disease information across the globe.  

In most states, the state health department will have guidance specific to the state, especially related to state requirements for immunizations.  Use the state/public health department: communicable diseases or vaccine-preventable diseases or immunizations to search for your state resources and recommendations. 
Even though information on disease outbreaks can change daily or even hourly, the links below are trusted to be updated with current evidence-based information and objective news.

AAOHN members also have exclusive access to examples of policies and procedures that some companies have developed (requires log-in).

Resources from:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    1. Measles for Healthcare Professionals is a review for professionals, including about the virus, clinical features, complications, transmission, diagnosis and laboratory tests, evidence of immunity, vaccine recommendations for various ages and a 48 page guide to Immunization of Health-care Personnel from ACIP. Here you can find buttons and banners that show you what measles actually looks like.  

    2. Measles Cases and Outbreaks Updated  is updated every Monday with news about the outbreak. 

    3. Measles: Make Sure Your Child Is Protected with MMR Vaccine is a general update on measles, the disease, countries where it is still common, the vaccine and schedule, fact sheets and answers to questions frequently asked by your employees.

    4. For Travelers is a CDC page that is valuable to those OHNs who manage Travel Health Programs or whose employees may have questions about their personal travel.

    5. Measles References and Resources provides you with resource materials in both English and Spanish, multimedia videos and podcasts.

    6. Measles Materials and CDC's Vaccine Conversations with Parents

    7. Frequently Asked Questions about Measles in the U.S.

Because California was the epicenter of this measles outbreak, we have provided a link to the California Department of Public Health.

The CDC recently made the following recommendations to California hospitals:
“Many of you are dealing with healthcare worker exposures to measles.  Anyone with two documented doses of MMR vaccine is presumed to be immune and no additional MMR doses are recommended at this time, nor is serologic testing recommended for such persons.  However, we have received a number of questions about healthcare workers who were exposed to measles and did not have available immunization records so they received serologic testing for measles and were found to be IgG negative or equivocal.  Later the healthcare worker found records documenting that they had had two doses of measles-containing vaccine.  The question then is – can the person presumed to be immune or not?  At this point in time, the CDC recommendation is to trust the vaccine record over serology results.  This is because serology may not detect antibody that is present and would be boosted in the event of an exposure. “  This guidance remains congruent with Prevention of Measles, Rubella, Congenital Rubella Syndrome, and Mumps, 2013: Summary Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), Recommendations and Reports, June 14, 2013 / 62(RR04);1-34  (Scroll to end of report to find table with recommendations.)

For more information about setting up and managing an Emergency Preparedness plan for your employer, consult:  Hart, P. (2014). Emergency Preparedness. In P. Moore & R. Moore (Eds.), Fundamentals of Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing: AAOHN Core Curriculum (4th ed., pp. 434-474). Pensacola, FL: American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.

Contributed by: Chad Rittle, DNP, MPH, RN, FAAOHN