From time to time, need arises to critique research to determine not only the research’s strengths or weaknesses but also its usefulness and application to the present context. The process also assesses if the outcomes and conclusions of a given research are believable and if they are supported by contextual findings. Overall, this process is also useful in assessing the quality of research. This paper presents a critique of the article Measles-What’s Old Is New Again, a piece by Blakely et al. (2019) that explores the measles infection which has been found to make a comeback in the United States after nearly being eradicated for years.
Summary and Background
The article illuminates various aspects of the measles infection, “one of the most contagious diseases known” (Blakely et al., 2019: p. 49). While the authors have not expressly stated their objectives or the question they are addressing, they highlight the seriousness of the measles infection in the United States and the world at large, thus implying their intent to shed more light on various aspects of the disease. Notably, their piece has been motivated by the reappearance of measles in the United States, where it was once thought to have been almost eradicated. Cognizant of the seriousness of this disease as a public health threat (especially going by the statistics by the CDC and other sources), the rationale of their undertaking related to the need to create awareness of this incurable disease and why it is important to take preventive measures mainly by ensuring vaccination. After presenting various statistics and exploring the clinical presentation of the disease as well as the populations most at risk, the authors proceed to emphasize the need for vaccination, but more importantly they present evidence to show that vaccination helps reduce the chances of infection. A piece of evidence in this regard is the fact that most people diagnosed with measles in the US are those who have travelled to countries with low immunization rates. Having made their case for the need for vaccination compliance, the authors conclude that given the dramatic rise in cases of this disease in the United States and elsewhere, healthcare providers have a responsibility to provide evidence-based information about vaccination to the public, so that families and individuals can be adequately informed as to make informed decisions. Such information, the authors assert, would also go a long way in clearing the air about any misconceptions being spread about vaccination.
Methods and Results
Considering that this work is not a typical research item, not much can be said about contextual methodology and results. In fact, the authors have not discussed this aspect of their work, so the reader can only infer, and so correctly, that the article is a typical literature presentation since the authors have presented evidence-based information about measles. In making their case for widespread vaccination, the authors illuminate the disease in terms of statistics, clinical presentation, treatment, populations at risk, and complications associated with measles. Regarding to clinical presentation, they discuss the main manifestation, a rash that usually starts on the face or hairline and spreads downward to the rest of the body, eventually covering the entire body. They explain that complications and severity of this disease depend on a wide range of factors related to the patient and his or her environment. The authors also explain that measles has no treatment, but supportive care is imperative. Administration of vitamin A to children who have been hospitalized is recommended. For fever and pain, these are treated with ibuprofen or acetaminophen, just as antitussives are administered to relieve cough. The authors recommend adequate fluid intake to address contextual dehydration.
Many other statistics about the disease are highlighted, and overall, they serve to emphasize the seriousness of the disease. Populations at risk include children (mostly younger than 5 years), and those 19 years and below, women of child-bearing age, pregnant women, and older adults (though cases are rare in this group). A very important aspect that is highlighted is the issue of non-compliance with vaccination, mainly as a result of misconceptions about measles vaccine. Educating people on the importance of immunization and providing evidence-based information that would help clear the air about various misconceptions are recommended, and the buck stops with healthcare providers.
Critique and Impact
While the authors have not expressly stated their goals at the beginning, it is obvious they set to shed light on the measles infection and draw attention to its seriousness, as well as the fact that it is reappearing in the United States where it was once thought to have been nearly eradicated. These are goals they have accomplished, more so considering the way they have explored pertinent literature, thereby presenting evidence-based information about various aspects of the disease. Arguably, their piece could not be more informative. One key strength noted is the author’s use of up-to-date sources of information, hence proof and emphasis that they are discussing a disease that is a current public health concern. Additionally, reliance on credible sources such as the CDC, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee and other bodies as well as articles from peer-reviewed journals evidences a deliberate and appreciable effort by the authors to present reliable information. All statistics and core points are accompanied by citations, a fact that elevates this work in terms of credibility and reliability. In making their case for vaccine compliance, the authors have presented statistics to prove that most people falling sick with measles in the United States are those who have travelled to countries with low immunization rates. Indeed, the conclusion they draw finds support in and flows from their in-depth exploration of measles and various issues surrounding immunization. To the extent that they have illuminated the disease and why it is important to immunize, the authors have achieved their objectives.
Overall, this paper has drawn attention to the issue of the reemergence of measles and why there is need to worry about the disease’s prevalence rates in the United States and elsewhere. There is no doubt that the piece is an important addition to the literature already available on measles. Despite the stated strengthens, one gets a feeling that authors have not adequately addressed the misconceptions that they mention in relation to measles vaccination. Considering the weighty nature of this issue, they should have gone an extra mile to explore these misconceptions and find out why they arise as well as why so many people out there believe them. Additionally, just recommending that healthcare providers should provide evidence-based information that would help families and individuals make more informed decisions seems inadequate; recommending ways of giving that information would have been a plus. Nevertheless, the authors deserve credit for compiling such an informative piece.
Blakely, K.K., Suttle, R., Wood, T., Stallworth, K., & Baker, N. (2019). Measles-What’s Old Is New Again.