We are pleased to introduce an insightful guest article on the re-emergence of measles, authored by Rachel Thaxter, former Head of Infection Prevention & Control at Addenbrookes Hospital.  Rachel highlights the critical role of innovative wearables in contact tracing to manage and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Measles is an acute highly contagious viral disease.  The main symptoms of measles are a fever and a rash. But it can cause more serious complications including meningitis, and in some cases can be fatal.

A fall in vaccination rates is leaving both adults and children vulnerable to this infection.  581 cases have been identified from October 2023 to February 2024.  The West Midlands have seen the highest numbers but there are also increasing numbers in London and the Northwest. Hospitals are seeing many patients admitted with proven or suspected measles.  Patients who may be incubating measles could also potentially expose a large group of staff and other patients as they are infectious in the 3-4 days before the appearance of a rash.

I am proud to be an advisor to the Proxximos team.  As an experienced Infection Prevention and Control Nurse I can see the enormous benefit of using wearables to contact trace both patients and staff in any outbreak or single significant pathogen.  They provide real time, accurate contact tracing including precise lengths of exposure times allowing teams to risk assess individual cases.  In a measles outbreak there is an urgent need to contact trace both patients and staff to prevent onward transmission of infection by isolation or exclusion from work.  If prophylactic immunoglobulin is required, this must be given within 6 days of exposure, so it is critical to identify these patients quickly.

Digital Contact Tracing saves many hours of manual contact tracing and frees up time to manage the outbreak.  Another key feature is the accuracy of being able to identify all contacts, patients in waiting rooms and other departments, such as x-ray, who are difficult or impossible to trace with conventional contact tracing.  Identifying the staff exposed is equally challenging but quick and easy to do using wearables.  Proxximos can provide the solution for Trusts to future proof their ability to produce accurate information to manage and control outbreaks and prevent on-going transmission of infections.

If you would like more details on how Proxximos supports healthcare settings with the measles & wider infectious diseases challenge, please contact Martin Pipe on martin.pipe@proxximos.com