The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH)’s recent Provider Immunization Awards Breakfast was highlighted by the presentation of a Director’s Award to Dr. Paul Del Guercio, a family physician who practices in Middletown. Dr. Del Guercio’s swift diagnosis of a case of the measles in his office in April and immediate reporting to HEALTH helped prevent the spread of this highly contagious respiratory disease.
“Dr. Del Guercio’s vigilance and sound judgment make him a hero to Rhode Island’s community of healthcare providers,” said Interim Director of Health Michael Fine, MD. “His actions demonstrate the importance of collaboration between providers and HEALTH in the prevention of communicable disease.”
Dr. Del Guercio received his Director’s Award at the event on May 26 in Warwick.
On April 13, Del Guercio notified HEALTH of a suspected case of measles. The patient, a woman in her 20s, was from Europe. She had arrived in New York days earlier and traveled by car to Rhode Island. Del Guercio’s diagnosis was quickly confirmed by serologic testing. Measles can be prevented by the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Because routine MMR vaccination of children is required in the United States, measles cases are rarely seen anymore but remain common in many places worldwide.
“This incident reminds us that everyone – children and adults – should be up to date on all recommended vaccinations,” added Fine.
HEALTH presented several other awards at the Provider Awards Breakfast. Fifteen practices were acknowledged for outstanding immunization coverage rates of their patients between 24 and 36 months of age. Many other healthcare providers were recognized for outstanding practices in the reporting, documentation, storage, and handling of vaccine.