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Misdiagnosis may lead to more measles cases

Measles is an infectious virus that was thought to be essentially eliminated in the United States many years ago. This was due in large part to the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine that inoculated individuals, especially children, from the three formerly common diseases of measles, mumps and rubella. Recently, however, there has been a noticeable increase in the virus. This is due to a variety of factors, including lower vaccination rates and misdiagnosis. Illinois parents are advised by authorities to get the vaccination on schedule and be aware of the signs of the virus in their children.

The misdiagnosis of measles is thought to be common among younger doctors because the disease has been so rare for so long that many of them have never seen a case. Even veteran doctors may not have seen a case for decades and may be thus unaware of the symptoms. This problem is compounded by the fact that the majority of measles symptoms are extremely common and can easily be mistaken for a variety of lesser infections, such as a common cold.

Doctors should be increasingly on the lookout for measles cases and should include measles as a possibility in their diagnosis. A doctor should be looking for possible measles exposure in patients and should be asking question about vaccination history. A misdiagnosed infection can in some cases cause severe injury.

If a child becomes infected with measles, and a doctor failed to diagnose the disease or misdiagnosed the disease as something else, then an attorney may be able to assist in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The damages arising from such a failure to treat infections can include the costs of future medical care and treatment.

Source: ABC News, "How Doctors and Parents May Be Contributing to the Rise of Measles", Liz Neporent, Jan. 28, 2015

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