LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - At the turn of the century, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that measles had been eliminated, which means there was absence of continuous disease transmission for greater than 12 months from the United States. But a spike in cases in 2014 has care providers on alert today.
That's why Catholic Health Initiative's (CHI) St. Luke's Health of Lufkin has adult measles on its menu for its March 2015 Lunch & Learn session.
Just before noon on March 12th, droves of nurses at CHI St. Luke's Health in Lufkin checked in hungry, not just for a free lunch, but also for medical information.
Dr. Richard Roby, St. Luke's Health Internal Medicine, is spearheading this month's session on measles in adults.
"Since there's been a little bit of an increase in measles in the United States, I want the staff to be as educated as they can because making a diagnosis and catching it as quick as you can is critical in preventing the spread of it," said Roby, who's been in practice for 19 years.
He also shared with the nurses some of the latest measles statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of March 6, there have been four cases documented in Texas.
Researchers created the measles vaccine in the 1960s, and it is given today in an immunization shot combined with mumps and rubella and perhaps varicella. However, some parents opt out of immunizing their baby, which puts them at risk for illnesses - including measles. It also poses a health threat for infants and babies in line to be immunized but come in contact with an infected un-immunized child.
This Lunch & Lean was just one of two planned for this month dealing with measles.
According to Julie Warren, an RN and Community Education Coordinator at CHI St. Luke's Health, continual education for medical staff is critical part of their profession.
"We want our nurses and our staff to be educated. But, of course, we want that to filter out into the community," Warren said.
The session focused on recognizing signs of measles in adults. Because most care providers may know what to look for in children who have not been immunized, the nurses learned some signs of the infection to look in men and women. Roby advised the nurses that adults with measles may have systems such as a cold and fever with a cough.
"At that point, when you begin to cough, have this active cough and have a runny nose, you're contagious…," the Internist said during his lecture session. "Hopefully, they'll never see a case, but if they do, they can look at somebody and maybe have clue and then call somebody else who has a little more knowledge."
For these nurses, that little more knowledge they consumed today could mean the difference world of difference when it comes to health.
CHI Saint Luke's Health also has community education classes that are free to the public. You can call the office at (936) 631-6780.
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