The diseases are considered infectious when many people can contaminate from a single individual if one does not initiate treatment in time. Diseases can be contagious regardless of being viral or respiratory. Pertussis, which is a contagious respiratory tract infection, and measles, which is a viral illness, are considered such and, thus, occur worldwide (Farrell & Dempsey, 2011, p. 15). Infectious diseases, unlike others, need quickened actions, which entail medications and raising awareness of the public. An understanding of the symptoms of the two diseases is essential since it enables individuals to know when to address for help to healthcare providers. While both measles and pertussis are contagious diseases and similar in manifestation, some differences are evident in their occurrence within Australia and the worldwide, the transmission, and risk of acquisition to healthcare workers as well as the management of spread within the healthcare setting and the community.
Some of the clinical manifestations of measles and pertussis are almost similar. In both illnesses, several stages precede the onset of the disease. Patients with measles have a 4-step manifestations’ period. The incubation period does not entail any significant symptoms. The prodromal phase involves sore throat, runny nose, inflamed eyes, fever, koplik spots, diarrhea, and dry cough. The exanthema period is the stage where the red rashes appear. It commences on the face and spreads on neck, legs, and arms. During this point, the patient is highly contagious, and his/her skin starts to fade. The fourth stage is the recovery period whereby the cough lasts resulting in the measles infection. Similarly, patients with pertussis also go through various stages, which determine the severity of the disease. The first one, known as the catarrhal stage, is connected with the developing of mild fever and some occasional high-pitched whoops in patients. As the disease progresses, the cough becomes persistent during the paroxysmal phase. Patients also throw up and look tired during the coughing fits. The third stage is the convalescent one where the patient recovers gradually (Sandora, Gidengil & Lee 2008, p. 430).
Measles and pertussis are contagious diseases, which are experienced worldwide. In the entire world, measles is experienced every 1 to 5 years. New epidemics result from the community size especially in cases where the figures are approximately from 250,000 to 500, 000. Decreasing numbers of the outbreak have been felt in Australia since the 1960s (Hall & Jolley 2011, p. 158-163). The country faced the cases’ decrease in 2009 and its increase in 2014. The National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance depicted that the incidence of measles in Australia resulted from those who had not been vaccinated (Durrheim, Crowcroft & Strebel 2014 p. 6881). The secret behind Australia’s reduced incidence of measles is the short chains of transmission, which various immunizations conducted within the country caused. In contrary, pertussis is a global endemic, which occurs every 3-5 years (Pillsbury et al. 2014, p. E100). The incidence of this disease has been reduced by the adoption of immunization and therapy whereby 82% of newborn babies are immunized each year. Compared to the decline of measles cases, Australia faces an increased number of the pertussis patients. The situation has continued for more than a decade. In 2011, nearly 40, 000 cases of pertussis were reported in Australia (Andersson and Britton 2012, p. 100). With the availability of the vaccine against the disease, the rate of occurrence has lowered.
It is possible to transmit measles among Health Care Workers (HCW) especially in cases where they do not have immunity from it. During their operations, HCWs need to use protective equipment to avoid direct contact with measles patients. The former are at the risk of developing this disease since they meet ill people with potential cases of transmission. The workers need to be immunized to reduce exposure since vaccination lowers the rate of infectivity. The immunity status is not enough to guarantee HCWs the prevention from measles. They should wear N-95 respirators when evaluating measles patients (Urbiztondo et al. 2013, p. 391). It is also important to monitor the symptoms of those who handle patients with direct unprotected exposure. Studies noted the prevalence of measles antibodies in HCWs’ organisms to be 98%. The systematic pediatric vaccination has reduced the risks of acquisition to HCWs. In contrary, pertussis has reduced transmission and low risk of its acquisition by them. Unlike measles, it is hard to acquire pertussis after first vaccination (Communicable Diseases Network Australia 2009, p. 19). The immunogenic, safe, and efficient vaccine against this illness is widely available, what makes it difficult for the disease to transmit. Therefore, even though HCWs deal with patients who have different levels of the disease, the vaccines have booster duration of immunity, in which one is less susceptible to illness (Low et al. 2015, p. 1520). Moreover, contrary to the case of measles, HCWs are not required to wear protective clothing and equipment since the booster vaccine applied on a routine basis reduces the risk of infection acquisition. Hence, it is a priority to vaccinate all HCWs to avoid the risk of transmitting pertussis in the healthcare settings.
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In the community and the healthcare setting, measles can be managed through a vaccine against the disease. Measles occurs as a result of disease carriers’ activities. In areas where people are not vaccinated, the illness is likely to cause outbreaks. Individuals who have close contact with infected people are likely to develop measles when the measles carriers cough, breathe or sneeze. Therefore, the most efficient method to manage the spread of measles is vaccination. In the healthcare setting, providers should adhere to the respiratory etiquette, despite the knowledge that the vaccine against measles could be ineffective (Fiebelkorn, Redd & Kuhar 2015, p. 387). Therefore, infected patients need to be kept in a single-patient and isolated rooms. That prevents airborne infections. In contrary, pertussis is not difficult to manage as the vaccine against it has been noted to be immunogenic, safe, and efficient. The spread of this illness can be controlled if all adults and adolescents were immunized. Immunized individuals reduce chances of contracting the disease or transmitting it to others. The vaccination of healthcare providers is cost-effective, even though further research to determine the effectiveness of the pertussis vaccine in the healthcare setting is required (Jen et al. 2015, p. 50-53).
In conclusion, both measles and pertussis are contagious diseases, which are worldwide spread. The clinical manifestations of illnesses indicate that they have similar symptoms while the rest characteristics are different. Even though a cough is witnessed in two cases, in the one typical for measles is dry while pertussis involves a whooping sound. In Australia, measles and pertussis have been recurrent. However, the country witnessed the reduction of measles’ cases in 2009 and its increase in 2014. The efforts to immunize its population from measles infection have been fruitful. Pertussis has also been evident in Australia. The vaccine against the disease has been effective in preventing cases of the illness within the country. Measles can be transmitted and acquired by HCWs while it is difficult to do the same with pertussis using the effectiveness of the vaccine. To manage the spread of measles within the community and the healthcare setting, the vaccine is required. Even though it is not believed to be effective, HCWs wear protective equipment when dealing with measles patients. The vaccine for pertussis is considered to be immunogenic, safe, and efficient hence HCWs do not have to worry while dealing with patients, which have this disease.