United States measles cases hit highest mark in 25 years

Phillip Cunningham
April 25, 2019

There have been 626 cases of measles reported in the United States this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But in 2019, there have been reported outbreaks across the country due to a decline in vaccine coverage.

That number is just 42 below the 2014 record of 667 cases, the highest number since measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000. The number of reported cases in the first three months of 2019 - which covers dates between January 1 and April 19 - are expected to surpass 2014 levels, health officials said on Monday.

Nationwide, 22 states have reported cases of measles in 2019.

The number of confirmed cases in other states are still in the double-digits, including 74 cases in Washington, 43 cases in MI, 23 in California and 13 in New Jersey.

For instance, the outbreak in NY, which was declared a public health emergency last month, began when an unvaccinated child became infected while visiting Israel, according to health officials. Most of those cases have been in unvaccinated people. Most of the NY cases have involved unvaccinated people in the Orthodox Jewish communities living in certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.

Toi Te Ora was not investigating any further reported cases and he hoped these two separate outbreaks, measles not spread to others in the community, he said.

Free vaccines for uninsured and under-insured individuals are on offer at the county's 14 public health clinics. While most people recover, in rare cases the disease can cause life-threatening complications like pneumonia and encephalitis, and 1 in 1,000 sufferers will die.

"Symptoms of measles usually start approximately 10 days after being around an infectious person, but can occur between seven and 18 days after exposure".

The first early symptoms of measles are fever, runny nose, sore red eyes and cough.

Common complications from measles can include ear infections, hearing loss and diarrhea.

The city's outbreak of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly virus began last October and has been largely confined to children in Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn.

The CDC has warned that measles is "so contagious that if one person has it, up to 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected". The vaccine is recommended for children at 12 months of age, and the second vaccination is typically given at 4-6 years of age. "One dose is considered 93% effective, and two doses is considered 97% effective, :" Dr Duwell says.

Before the measles vaccine was developed, the disease killed between two and three million people every year worldwide.

National Infant Immunization Week is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles. Do I need another MMR vaccine shot?

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