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Vaccine-Preventable Diseases In Pediatric Patients: A Review Of Measles, Mumps, Rubella, And Varicella

December 2016

Abstract

Vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella continue to plague children and adults worldwide. Although public health programs have helped decrease the prevalence and sequelae of these diseases, outbreaks still occur. To limit the spread of these diseases, emergency clinicians must be able to readily identify the characteristic presentations of the rashes associated with measles, rubella, and varicella, as well as the common presenting features associated with mumps. Diagnostic laboratory studies are not usually necessary, as a complete history and physical examination usually lead to an accurate diagnosis. Treatment for these vaccine-preventable diseases usually consists of supportive care, but, in some cases, severe complications and death may occur. This issue provides a review of the clinical features, differential diagnoses, potential complications, and treatment options for measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella.

Key words: Measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, vaccine-preventable diseases, virus, vaccine, immunization, fever, rash, exanthem, parotitis, rubeola, chickenpox, Measles virus, Mumps virus, Rubella virus, Human herpesvirus 3, MMR vaccine, MMRV vaccine, pediatric, children

Points

  • Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella infectionsshould be reported to the local Department of Health.
  • The history should include whether the patient is pregnant, as congenital rubella syndrome can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, cataracts, cardiac defects, dermal erythropoiesis skin lesions (“blueberry muffin” rash), deafness, and developmental delay.

Pearl

  • Outbreaks of mumps still occur in crowded environments and at close-contact sporting events due to the fact that the vaccine is only 88% effective
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