The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there have been over 1,000 confirmed measles cases in the past six months. Almost triple the amount of total cases reported in 2018. In just six months, United States is experiencing the largest number of outbreaks its seen since 1992.
Measles is a respiratory disease that is spread through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if a person is infected with the measles it is reported that 9 out of 10 people who come into close contact with them are likely to be infected.
Although thought to be controlled through vaccines in the United States, measles is still very common around the world. It is believed that outbreaks in the United States are result of travelers unknowingly bringing the disease back with them. Outbreaks defined as 3 or more cases have been reported in five areas in the United States:
- Rockland County, New York
- New York City
- Butte County, California
Healthcare providers are on the front line. They decide whether to quarantine patients or enforce emergency measures. In addition to providing treatment, they have a responsibility to educate and investigate. But it is our responsibility as community members to educate ourselves. As a professional cleaning service, it is our responsibility to adhere to medical cleaning standards that fight and stop the chain of infection and educate our staff on the proper disinfection.
But where do you even begin to prevent the spread of a virus so contagious? The Red Cross reports that the measles can live on any surface for up to 2 hours. In a medical setting, that is enough time for someone to touch the surface, then rub their eyes, nose or mouth. And there is always a chance that your next patient may have the measles or C. Auris, a drug resistant fungal infection that has also been wreaking havoc on healthcare facilities. Vigilant and proactive cleaning is required at all times because it is essential to maintaining a healthy environment even before diagnosis.
Now is the perfect time to make sure that you and your cleaning provider have a plan in place that promotes both the safety of your patients and staff. This requires frequent communication to establish that all areas and touchpoints are cleaned properly and consistently. Hospital-grade disinfectants that are proven to reduce the risk of infection should always be used to combat the spread of measles and other viruses from surface contact. Paying close attention to kill claims is imperative to proper use. Leaving a disinfectant on a surface for 10 seconds rather than 30 could literally be the difference between life or death in some cases.
The protection of staff members and patients is reliant on safety standards. Cleaning staff should wear gloves at all times and should change gloves when torn, wet inside or in between patient rooms. They should also wear the proper masks and eye gear when necessary. On a personal level, an effective way of preventing the spread of any virus or infection is frequently washing your hands. If you plan on traveling out of the country there are preventative measures you can take recommended by the CDC.