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Measles and misdiagnosis

As residents of New York might know, cases of measles have reached numbers that have not been seen in the past two decades, and infection may occur in unvaccinated individuals. Measles is a contagious infection that causes fever, rash, cough and pink eye. In some cases, measles may lead to the death of the individual who contracts it. According to an infectious disease specialist in Philadelphia, members of the health community might benefit from becoming more familiar with the disease.

Large-scale vaccination provides immunity to a large group, referred to as 'herd immunity," if a certain percentage of the group receives the vaccine. However, many areas are under below this threshold. In 2004, 37 cases were reported in the United States and, in 1962, 481,530 cases occurred in the country, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers of measles cases have been increasing yearly, and the CDC advocates vaccinating children with the MMR vaccine at the ages of 12 to 15 months and again at 4 to 6 years.

The early stages of measles may bear resemblance to other diseases. It might be difficult to diagnose by those physicians who have never seen it during their career. Because measles is so contagious, this may risk spread of the disease to the public due to lack of isolation of the patient and could pose a risk to the infected individual if complications that are not being monitored by the physician develop.

If a physician does not recognize the early stages of measles before the appearance of the rash due to doctor errors, the child may not receive appropriate treatment. Measles might result in complications that leave permanent injury or result in death. If this occurs, consultation with an attorney to discuss possible legal options such as a medical malpractice lawsuit may be beneficial.

Source: ABC News, "How Doctors and Parents May Be Contributing to the Rise of Measles," Liz Neporent, Jan. 28, 2015

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