Measles & The Churchbeing there // on Thursday February 26, 2015
It’s one of the headlines in the news right now. Measles. Once reported as eliminated from the United States, less than 60 days into the year, the disease now has reached 141 confirmed cases. If you think the outbreak won’t affect your church, you may be surprised to learn that a previous outbreak in 2013 actually started in a church. It’s important to learn ways to help keep your ministry and the smallest members of the church, the children, protected from the disease. If your church has a nursery, preschool, or after school program, measles can cause a serious disruption. Here are some precautions and safeguards your church or organization can implement to better protect its members.
- Vaccinate – The CDC recommends that childcare staff and children get the measles vaccine. This is the best way to protect against the disease. Check out this immunization schedule to learn when a child or adult should be vaccinated.
- Document – Follow the state requirements for documenting the immunization of the children at the organization. If you’re unsure of the requirements in your state, review this helpful page from the CDC.
- Recognize – Be aware and able to recognize measles symptoms. If you believe a child has symptoms of measles, encourage their parents to contact a doctor and promptly notify state or local public health officials of suspected cases.
- Minimize Risk – If there is a case of measles at your organization, immediately clean the areas in which children with the measles were present. Also, ask that unvaccinated children remain at home for 21 days after exposure to the last measles case.
- Be in the Know – Know that measles is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus. It can be spread through coughing and sneezing. An infected person can even spread measles prior to showing symptoms – from four days before the rash and four days after.
The CDC is a great resource for measles related questions. If you have unanswered questions or want to learn more about the disease and how to protect yourself and your family, visit the CDC’s website.