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J Occup Health. 2012;54(4):336-9. Epub 2012 May 18.

Measles among healthcare workers in a teaching hospital in central Italy.

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Department of Biomedical Science and Public Health, Section of Hygiene, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy.



The aim of this report is to describe a measles cluster involving health-care workers (HWCs) that occurred in a teaching hospital in central Italy during winter 2011 and the efforts made to promptly identify all the susceptible contacts in order to stop, as soon as possible, transmission of the infection within the hospital.


An epidemiological investigation took place. The immunization status of all the exposed individuals was assessed by personal interviews (history of measles or measles vaccine). Serologie screening for personnel not immune to measles was performed.


Four cases of measles infection in HCWs were identified; of the 72 HCWs tested for measles immunity, 50 reported a past history of measles, while 22 underwent serological screening, which showed that all were IgG positive except for one case, which was excluded from duty as recommended. Strict adherence to use of alcohol-based hand rub and rapid implementation of appropriate isolation precautions are essential but insufficient to prevent measles outbreaks in hospital settings. Vaccination is the only reliable protection against nosocomial spread of measles. Therefore, assessing the immunization status of HCW and implementing vaccination strategies are needed in order to virtually set to zero the risk of acquiring and spreading measles in healthcare settings.

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