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Measles Response and the Value of Public Health Preparedness

The latest emerging or reemerging infectious disease that is putting communities at risk is the measles outbreak of 2015. Measles can be very serious and one of every four people who get the measles will need to be hospitalized. One in 1,000 people may develop encephalitis and as many as two in 1,000 may die, regardless of the quality of care.

As with all community threats, public health surveillance and hospital preparedness systems must be integrated with emergency medical services (EMS). One way to enhance response is to train 9-1-1 operators to recognize the symptoms of measles and ask more questions when someone requests EMS for a medical emergency.