U.S. measles cases jump to a 20-year high

May 30, 2014

The number of measles cases in the United States has reach a 20-year high, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

The number of measles cases in the United States has reach a 20-year high, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since January 1, 2014, 288 cases of measles have been reported.

Although the disease had been declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, the CDC says the recent spike in outbreaks is a result of unvaccinated people who travelled aboard.

“The current increase in measles cases is being driven by unvaccinated people, primarily U.S. residents, who got measles in other countries, brought the virus back to the United States and spread to others in communities where many people are not vaccinated,” Anne Schuchat, MD, assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, said in a statement.

Ninety-seven percent of the cases were associated with international travel, and 90% of the cases occurred in people who were unvaccinated or whose status was unknown.

The largest measles outbreak is in Ohio, which has a total of 177 reported cases, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Of those cases, 111 are located in Knox County, which has a large number of Amish residents. Other outbreaks have been reported in New York and California.

Healthcare officials are urging providers to ensure their patients are up-to-date on their MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccines, especially if their patients are planning to travel internationally.

If physicians encounter a patient with the typical symptoms of measles-fever, rash, cough, runny nose, and pink eye-the CDC urges them to isolate the patient immediately and report the case to their local health department. 

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