Resurgence of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States: Anesthetic and Critical Care Implications

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Vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) such as measles and pertussis are becoming more common in the United States. This disturbing trend is driven by several factors, including the antivaccination movement, waning efficacy of certain vaccines, pathogen adaptation, and travel of individuals to and from areas where disease is endemic. The anesthesia-related manifestations of many VPDs involve airway complications, cardiovascular and respiratory compromise, and unusual neurologic and neuromuscular symptoms. In this article, we will review the presentation and management of 9 VPDs most relevant to anesthesiologists, intensivists, and other hospital-based clinicians: measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, diphtheria, influenza, meningococcal disease, varicella, and poliomyelitis. Because many of the pathogens causing these diseases are spread by respiratory droplets and aerosols, appropriate transmission precautions, personal protective equipment, and immunizations necessary to protect clinicians and prevent nosocomial outbreaks are described.

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