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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2019 Dec;38(12):1204-1207. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002481.

Identifying Children With Measles for Isolation in a High-volume Pediatric Emergency Department in Singapore.

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From the Department of Emergency Medicine, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore.
Biostatistics Unit, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.



Viral exanthems in the pediatric age group are common. The worldwide increase in the incidence of highly infectious measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases and its impact in emergency departments (EDs) of a cosmopolitan city-state like Singapore are unknown. Our aims were to investigate and describe recent epidemiologic trends of proven measles infection seen in our ED and elucidate risk factors that can potentially impact our ED isolation practice.


This is a retrospective observational cohort study on laboratory-confirmed measles infection in patients admitted through our pediatric ED from January 2010 to December 2016.


A total of 277 patients were hospitalized for measles infection during the study period. Of these, 177 patients (63.9%) were not isolated initially at the ED triage and 92 patients (33.2%) were not admitted to isolation wards on admission. Seventy-five patients (27.1%) with microbiologically proven measles had no rash at initial ED presentation. They presented earlier in their illness (3.1 days) compared with an average of 4.8 days for those who had a rash at presentation (P < 0.001). These patients without rash were younger, and most were admitted for poor feeding.


Our study found that most pediatric patients who required hospitalization presented with nonspecific symptoms at an early phase of illness, making it challenging to adequately isolate patients despite strict isolation policies. This calls for the importance of universal push for global vaccination to increase herd immunity to prevent measles infection.

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