Measles Cases Exceed 300 Already This Year: CDC Warns
In less than three weeks, the number of measles cases confirmed this year has surged from 200 to more than 300, according to federal disease experts.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a measles update on Monday, indicating the number of cases reported in the U.S. in 2019 has reached 314 individual cases.
The March 25 update warns that confirmed cases have now been identified in 15 different states, and the number of individuals who experienced problems has increased by nearly 100 cases since an earlier update on March 7, less than three weeks prior.
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The update includes 46 more measles cases reported since last week, as awareness about this emerging health concern has increased nationwide. Cases have now been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
Although measles has been considered “eradicated” in the United State for decades, the CDC warns that the recent rise in outbreaks is the result of unvaccinated individuals who become infected and spread the disease to other unvaccinated individuals. Many of these individuals have not been vaccinated due to unsubstantiated claims linking autism to vaccines.
Similarly, unvaccinated travelers from countries may become infected and travel into the U.S., exposing causing Americans to spread the disease to other members of the community who are also unvaccinated.
Washington State has reported 78 cases since the beginning of January, leading to a state of emergency. The state’s vaccination rates for young children has dropped to 70%. Researchers emphasize “herd immunity” can only be reached at a 93% vaccination rate.
While the CDC does not project the anticipated number of cases for the year, this year’s case count through the first three months is approaching the total count reached for all of 2018, which was actually the second highest number reported in more than two decades.
Measles is a highly contagious illness. However, it is entirely preventable by vaccines. Typically symptoms include rash, fever, cough, runny, nose, and watery eyes.
The disease was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 due to widespread vaccination, but is endemic in other countries where vaccination rates are low. In the U.S., the recent “anti-vaxxer” movement, claiming vaccines are linked to autism, has many parents opting out of vaccinations in lenient states.
The CDC emphasizes vaccines are necessary to prevent many diseases. Research has proven measles vaccines not only prevent the disease, but are also safe and will not lead to autism. It is key each person receive the necessary vaccines to prevent future disease outbreaks, health experts warn.
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