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Measles poses significant threat to health care workers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 1,000 cases of measles have been confirmed in 28 states, including California. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the nature of the work done by health care workers puts them at significant risk of infection. Child care workers and those who work in laboratories are also at a high risk of exposure.

Health care workers are frequently exposed to airborne particles and droplets from throats, noses and mouths of people who are infected by measles. Any direct contact with saliva or respiratory secretions of infected individuals or even contaminated surfaces poses risks. Although measles is a known childhood disease, people of all ages can be infected.

Unfortunately, the disease is usually only diagnosed after the appearance of the telltale rash while it is most contagious in the days before the rash can be seen. A runny nose, high fever, red eyes and white spots that appear inside the infected person's mouth typically follow infection. It is often mistaken for flu until the rash starts showing on the face and neck before it gradually spreads over the body. If it is left untreated, it could lead to pneumonia, which could even cause death.

Health care workers in California are eligible for workers' compensation insurance coverage. Anyone who contracts an infectious disease like measles can apply for compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages. An experienced attorney can assist throughout the benefits claims process that could be a daunting task at a challenging time when the victim is fighting a sometimes deadly disease.

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