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Measles Cases Are Rising. How Do You Protect Your Employees?

A worker just stopped by your office to let you know that she isn’t feeling well and would like to go home. She tells you her daughter has measles, and she thinks the weird white spots in her mouth may mean that she is getting it too.

What do you do?

First of all, the worker is correct that she should go home; measles is so transmissible that up to 90% of unvaccinated persons close to an infected person will become infected themselves. Additionally:

  • Infected people can spread measles to others from 4 days before through 4 days after the rash appears.
  • The measles virus can live for up to 2 hours in an airspace after an infected person leaves an area.
  • Others who breathe the contaminated air or touch their eyes, nose, or mouth after touching an infected surface can become infected.

Because of this, the best way to protect your workers and your business, beyond ensuring that those who are infected stay home, is to implement COVID cleaning protocols. Disinfect any workplace surfaces that may have been contacted by the individual, and thus have viral particles on them, with products effective against enveloped viruses, following all labels directions. EPA-registered disinfectants suitable for Hepatitis B viruses and HIV (List D) will generally be effective against the measles virus.

Measles is also a nationally notifiable disease, so it is required that you inform your local health department for contact tracing. That information will also roll up to the state, then to CDC, for surveillance and outbreak investigation.

Why has measles increased recently?

While measles cases have risen in the US – with 41 cases in the first two months of 2024 compared to 58 total cases in 2023, an even greater increase has been seen in Europe with 42,200 measles cases across 41 member states compared to only 941 in 2022. It is particularly severe in England where cases have risen 40-fold, with estimates that more than 3 million children under age 16 are not vaccinated.

It is suspected that the increase in both these and other areas of the world are due to the lack of vaccination. Vaccinations have reached the lowest level since 2010-11, with only about 85% of children in 2022-23 having received two MMR doses by their fifth birthday, and only about 75% in some cities in England. The WHO target is 95%.

Given these continuing increasing cases, it is critical that children and others who are unvaccinated receive the vaccine. According to CDC, anyone who has been exposed to measles who cannot show immunity (from having had measles or been vaccinated) should get a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). This could be an MMR vaccine within 72 hours of initial measles exposure, or immunoglobulin (IG) within six days of exposure.

For more information on Measles, see TAG’s Infectious Disease Fact Sheet: Measles, or give us a call for assistance.

COVID Risk Matrix:


  • The CDC released updated recommendations for when people become ill with a respiratory virus, including COVID, they stay home and away from others. Individuals are able to return to normal activities when, for at least 24 hours, symptoms are improving overall, and if a fever was present, it has been gone without use of fever-reducing medication. Once people resume normal activities, they are encouraged to take additional prevention strategies for the next 5 days to curb disease spread, such as taking more steps for cleaner air, enhancing hygiene practices, wearing a well-fitting mask, keeping a distance from others, and/or getting tested for respiratory viruses. This guidance is not applicable to healthcare settings.
  • The CDC recommends another COVID booster shot for adults 65+ this spring – the same booster that was rolled out in fall 2023.
  • Airborne Chickenpox claimed three lives in February in Ernakulam, India.
  • A Polish study concludes that implementation of a universal chickenpox immunization program, supported by health education, should be considered to reduce the number of hospitalizations and nearly eliminate deaths.
  • An outbreak of Viral Hepatitis in Malappuram, India had its origins in a bakery. To date, 3 people have died, and many cases have been reported. In addition to awareness campaigns, wells have been chlorinated to help curtail the outbreak.
  • There were 42,200 measles cases across 41 member states in the WHO European Region in 2023, WHO confirmed, up from 941 cases reported in all of 2022. Vaccination is urged. England, where cases have risen 40-fold, estimates that more than 3 million children under age 16 are not vaccinated. 
  • There is an ongoing measles outbreak in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with 141 cases identified between week 52 of 2023 and week 6 of 2024. Among those with known vaccination status, 97% were unvaccinated and the most affected group is children under the age of 5 years.
  • As of February 29, 2024, a total of 41 measles cases were reported by 16 jurisdictions: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington. In all of 2023, only 58 cases were reported.
  • A meningitis outbreak has killed 20 students in northern Nigeria, local media reported Feb. 28. Over a hundred cases have allegedly been reported with three patients said to still be in an intensive care unit responding to treatment.

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