Medical transcription files in America would now be containing a large number of measles details. The country is gradually getting to be the home of measles cases. Strangely, it does not seem to be a child thing alone. The first four months of 2014 have seen an alarming rise in cases in the US.
When an infection spreads, it isn’t the disease alone that spreads but the panic as well. The rise in cases of a particular kind of infection in a country is a sign that the warning signs have not been heeded and that things are wrong in the healthcare front.
Measles Cases Keep Growing in Adults
The number of measles cases is seeing a sharp rise in America. According to figures by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), they have increased to 288 in 2014 alone. This is reported to be the greatest since 2000 and also the most of the initial five months in any year since 1994. More than half the cases are usually reported in adults age 20 or older.
However, in 2014 the kind of people affected by measles included people as young as two years of age and as old as 65 years. A large number of cases also involved people who had traveled from the Philippines. That country had witnessed a significant outbreak of measles earlier in 2014. Ohio with 138 cases ranked the highest, followed by California at 60 and New York City at 26.
Measles Unchecked Could Lead to Death
The symptoms of measles are characterized by cough, fever, rash and pink eye. Though the symptoms seem pretty pronounced, it seems that doctors are no longer able to properly diagnose if measles has set in. Measles vaccine has been so successful that it is estimated that clinicians might never have seen measles in their life and would not be able to comprehend its features. But this is more dangerous than curious, since measles untreated could result in brain infection and pneumonia. These could cause death. Missed diagnoses could therefore lead to significant health risks for the community. Of all the infectious diseases, measles is among the most contagious.
With regard to medical billing, physicians can report measles using the ICD-9 code 055. Other codes they may have to use when treating measles are:
055.0 Post measles encephalitis
055.1 Post measles pneumonia
055.2 Post measles otitis media
055.71 ‑ 055.79 055.7 Measles; with other specified complications
055.8 Measles complication NOS
055.9 Measles uncomplicated
The ICD 10 code for reporting measles is B05. Other related codes in this regard are:
B05.0 Measles complicated by encephalitis
B05.1 Measles complicated by meningitis
B05.2 Measles complicated by pneumonia
B05.3 Measles complicated by otitis media
B05.4 Measles with intestinal complications
B05.81 ‑ B05.89 B05.8 Measles with other complications
B05.9 Measles without complication
Need for Vaccination
The CDC found that 90% of measles cases in America involved individuals who were either not vaccinated or who had unknown vaccination status. If anyone does not like being vaccinated, they pose a serious health threat to themselves and those around them since they are really susceptible to measles outbreaks when the disease is brought in from another country. The CPT code to be used to signify measles vaccine is:
90705 – Measles virus vaccine, live, for subcutaneous use
Those opting out of vaccination are probably the greatest cause to blame. People often think measles is a childhood disease and vaccination needs to be done only then. Even Mayo Clinic describes it likewise, while the WHO website says that measles “affects mostly children”. But the vast number of cases in America involves adults. 85% of Americans who were affected by measles as a result of opting out of vaccination cited various personal and even religious reasons for failing to get them immunized. They think there will be enough people who get vaccinated, which would prevent the infection from spreading. Unfortunately, everyone else also thinks that way which severely decreases the strength of the vaccinated community.
CDC’s Steps to Put Measles in Check
2005 was the last time a measles death was reported in the US. The Vaccines for Children program of the CDC could be credited for the increased immunization rates and the corresponding decrease in measles. Half of all American children under the age of 19 can sign up for the program. For parents who cannot afford, vaccines are provided free of cost. The CDC claims that vaccinations have been quite successful in America and have resulted in the prevention of around 323 million measles cases as well as 732,000 deaths. But now, with rising number of cases, there is a risk of more deaths.
Vaccine Dosage for Kids
The CDC-recommended dosage for kids is two measles vaccine doses starting at 12 months and the next dose between 4 years and 6 years of age. Infants between 6 and 11 months of age need to be vaccinated if they will be traveling overseas. Measles vaccines have also got to be up to date. The CDC has given the recommendation that all American residents who were born after 1956 must get themselves checked whether they are yet immune to measles. If not immune, they should get themselves a fresh MMR vaccination. This must be followed particularly if they travel outside of the Americas.
With these measures, CDC and authorities hope that the measles cases would not keep growing in America.