Number of 2019 measles cases surpasses total for 2018

Number of 2019 measles cases surpasses total for 2018

A total of 387 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 15 states from January 1 to March 28, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previous year saw 17 outbreaks and 372 confirmed cases, CDC said.

The numbers are preliminary, and may change.

The federal government said that in 2018 the United States experienced 17 measles outbreaks, most concentrated in the state of New York, New York City and New Jersey.

These include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

Worldwide travel to areas where there are large outbreaks of the disease, like Israel and Ukraine, has been blamed for the recent rise. In the US, most outbreaks are sparked by travelers who picked up the virus in countries where measles is more common. So far in 2019, more measles cases have been reported than occurred in all of 2018. The extremely virus is airborne, and spread via coughing and sneezing.

Dr Jenny Mack of the PHA said measles was one of the most infectious viral diseases known.

Typical measles symptoms, including high fever, rash all over the body, stuffy nose and reddened eyes, usually disappear without treatment within two or three weeks, though a severe case of the measles can lead to death.

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However, a very small fraction of people get much sicker, and can suffer complications like pneumonia and swelling of the brain.

"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 website states.

There have been three measles-related deaths reported in the USA since 2000, including two in 2003 and one in 2015.

"This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the US since measles was eliminated in 2000", the CDC said.

The growth in "anti-vaxx" material on social media is thought to be a major contributory factor to a drop in the jab uptake rates in some countries - particularly in England where the proportion of children receiving both doses of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination by their fifth birthday has fallen over the last four years to 87.2 per cent. "Ensuring your children have had two doses of MMR vaccine will give them the best protection here and when travelling overseas".

Starting at 12 a.m. on March 27, anyone under the age of 18 who hasn't been vaccinated will be barred from public places in Rockland County until getting the MMR vaccine-or until the state of emergency expires within 30 days, according to WABC. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but there is a "remote chance" of the vaccine causing side effects and even serious injuries.

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