CDC: U.S. measles cases reach highest level in almost 20 years

CDC: U.S. measles cases reach highest level in almost 20 years

CDC: U.S. measles cases reach highest level in almost 20 years

The number of measles cases in the United States is at its highest since 2000 - the year measles was "eliminated from this country", the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced April 24. The CDC says 91.5% of U.S. children aged 19 months to 35 months received at least one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in 2017, the most recent year available. There were 963 cases in 1994.

People infected with the virus brought it to the United States from Israel and Ukraine and passed it on to members of their communities, many of whom had not been vaccinated.

The total number of measles cases has now climbed to 390 dating back to October, with an additional 31 cases in the last week.

Measles, a serious viral respiratory illness, can live up to two hours in the air or on the surface after an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Measles kills about 1 in 1,000 who get it, he said.

"Measles is one of the most infectious diseases that we deal with, very, very easy to spread and it's airborne".

According to its most recent post, the CDC expects, "In the coming weeks, 2019 confirmed case numbers will likely surpass 2014 levels".

The Illinois Department of Public Health says it's also expanding outreach in communities with low vaccination rates and educating the public on the importance of vaccines.

"Many parents are afraid. A single dose of measles vaccine protects about 95 percent of children, but after two doses, nearly 100 percent are immune", Michigan's health department said in a press release. "It's not so easy to discern what is real and what is not".

Measles symptoms begin with a high fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes, followed by a rash that usually begins at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.

Public health experts say the extremity of the policies could further push vaccine-skeptical groups away from the medical establishment. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease.

The virus can lead to deadly complications, but no measles deaths have been reported in the latest outbreaks. Just yesterday, there were 71 new cases reported in the U.S.

Two outbreaks have affected New Jersey, both in Lakewood. Health officials are expected to declare that outbreak over if no more cases are reported by later this week.

Butte County has the highest number of cases in the state now, with 11 reported so far. But the "anti-vaxxer" movement has made inroads among the ultra-Orthodox, even though they have little exposure to the internet.

The resurgence of the once-eradicated, highly-contagious disease is linked to a growing anti-vaccine movement in richer nations - which the World Health Organization has identified as a major global health threat. New York City issued a mandate on April 9 requiring residents in parts of Brooklyn to get vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella or face a $1,000 fine.

A vocal fringe of parents in the United States oppose vaccines, believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in them can cause autism.

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