US measles outbreak hits 'completely avoidable' 25-year-high

US measles outbreak hits 'completely avoidable' 25-year-high

Though the number of people affected in the U.S.is still relatively low compared with the countries hardest hit, there are a record number of US measles cases - the highest since the disease was eliminated in the USA back in 2000.

It's the greatest number of cases in a single year in 25 years and represents a huge setback for public health after measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000. More than 500 of the people infected were not vaccinated.

In New York City - specifically Brooklyn and Queens - 390 cases have been confirmed, and officials say a lot of them have involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community.

There have been 13 outbreaks reported in 2019, accounting for 663 cases, or 94 percent of all cases.

The CDC reported on Wednesday that 695 cases were reported in 22 states. Half of those outbreaks were associated with close-knit religious or cultural communities that were undervaccinated, accounting for 88 percent of all cases.

Breitbart News reported that the CDC website explains that record keeping began on measles outbreaks in 1912 and in the first decade reported an average of 6,000 measles-related deaths each year.

The rare and extreme measures reflect the seriousness of this year's outbreaks. Most of the recently recorded cases have been in NY and Los Angeles, officials said on Monday.

Dr Messonier confirmed that not all of the 704 people who have been diagnosed with measles are unvaccinated. "Vaccine-preventable diseases belong in the history books, not in our emergency rooms".

Health and Human Resources Secretary Alex Azar said the department is very concerned about the rise in cases. The company said in a statement that it has "taken steps to increase U.S. supply" of the vaccine due to the current outbreak.

To mark National Infant Immunization Week, he urged everyone to make sure they and their loved ones are up-to-date with the CDC's recommended vaccine schedule, which provides guidelines for people of all ages and with specific health conditions.

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"There is no treatment or cure for measles, and there is no way to predict how bad a case of measles will be", CDC Director Robert Redfield tweeted Monday.

When asked if he would follow measures attempted in France and the USA to tackle measles, he said: "I wouldn't rule out anything but I don't think we're there yet".

Medical Officer of Health Dr Virginia McLaughlin said the Public Health Unit "has contacted, or is contacting, more than 49 people" potentially exposed to the disease. "Measles can be serious in any age group, but particularly in children younger than 5 and older adults, they are more likely to suffer complications".

Of the cases that have occurred so far in 2019, 9% of patients have been hospitalized and 3% have come down with pneumonia, health officials said.

- Measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.

- The disease is highly contagious and can be fatal, killing one or two of every 1,000 children who contract it, according to the CDC.

Anyone vaccinated between 1963 and 1989 would likely have received only one dose, with many people immunized in the earlier years receiving an inactivated version of the virus.

The current outbreak eclipsed the number of cases from 2014 last week, shattering the previous record since the disease was declared "eradicated" in the U.S. in 2000.

The CDC considers people who received two doses of vaccines are children to be fully protected for life.

The number of measles cases in the U.S. reached a record-setting 704 across 22 states - the greatest number of cases in a single year in a quarter-century, health officials said Monday.

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