Affinia Healthcare Stands Ready for Possible Measles Outbreak
ST. LOUIS, MO – In response to the recent health advisory from the City of St. Louis Health Department, Affinia Healthcare is prepared to support local federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and underserved communities in response to a measles outbreak in the St. Louis metro area.
Earlier this summer the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services granted Affinia Healthcare possession of Immunoglobulin (IG) in the event of a Hepatitis A or measles outbreak. Affinia Healthcare will be responsible for the ordering, storage, transfer and administration of Immunoglobulin (IG) on behalf of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for the FQHCs and underserved community.
The City of St. Louis Department of Health is advising residents of an international travel-associated case of measles in the St. Louis region. On Friday, August 4, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, and the St. Charles County Department of Public Health released information regarding potential exposures to the confirmed measles case.
The state is requesting Affinia Healthcare have after-hours availability to distribute the immunoglobulin if needed. This medication is used to provide protection (antibodies) against certain virus infections (hepatitis A, measles, chickenpox, rubella) in people who have not been vaccinated or have not had the infection before. It is also used to strengthen the body’s natural defense system (immune system) to lower the risk of infection in persons with a certain immune system problem (immunoglobulin deficiency).
Distribution will be managed by Affinia Healthcare President & CEO Dr. Kendra Holmes and Pharmacy Director Kenyatta Johnson.
Affinia Healthcare is one of five FQHCs in Missouri to be selected for this important project.
“The medical community has seen a steady increase in the numbers of cases of measles worldwide, so it is wise to prepare and focus on those most vulnerable,” said Dr. Holmes said. “The trust the state has placed in us is humbling yet speaks to the quality of care we provide daily, as well as the level of expertise of our staff. We take this responsibility extremely serious.”
Measles is a virus that is spread by respiratory droplets or through the air. The virus can linger indoors for up to two hours after an infected person has left the area. It is highly contagious for those who are not immune. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that symptoms appear seven to 21 days after contact with the virus (average is 14 days). Symptoms can include the following:
- High fever
- Runny nose
- Red, watery eyes
- Rash (usually starting on the face or hairline and moving downward)
- Small white spots inside the mouth beginning 2-3 days after initial symptoms