It’s likely your patients have been so inundated with flu shot messaging that they don’t know the entire world, including the U.S., is in the midst of one of the worst years for measles infection in decades. At the same time, and certainly not coincidentally, vaccination rates are stagnating worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Measles infected nearly 10 million people around the world in 2018, according to the WHO, but the number of cases has risen threefold in 2019 vs the same period last year.
In this country, the growth is even more dramatic; the number of measles diagnoses is nearly four times the number it was in all of 2018, and almost twice as bad as the worst year of the past decade (372 cases last year; 667 cases in 2014; 1,261 cases so far this year). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of cases have occurred in individuals who have not been vaccinated. This is an ideal time to remind urgent care patients that, like influenza, measles can be deadly and is vaccine-preventable. For insights from a specifically urgent care perspective, read Unexpected Viral Illness In An Urgent Care Setting: The Re-Emergence Of Mumps, Measles, And Varicella in the JUCM archive.