US measles outbreak hits 'completely avoidable' 25-year-high, officials say

Henrietta Brewer
May 1, 2019

At least 704 people in the United States have been sickened this year by measles, the highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease, according to a new report released Monday morning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the two reports the CDC said the 78 new cases lift the nation's total so far this year-which isn't even half over-to 704 cases in 22 states as of April 26. Still, there are several hundred cases of measles in the US each year, including more than 600 in 2014.

Meanwhile, an outbreak centered in New York City's Orthodox Jewish community has topped 400 cases, with 33 new cases boosting the total to 423 cases, according to the latest update from NYC Health.

Measles has surfaced in 22 states in 2019, and the vast majority of people diagnosed with measles this year have not been vaccinated.

Last week, the CDC confirmed there were 626 cases, which at the time officials noted "in the coming weeks" the number of confirmed cases would surpass those in 2014.

The CDC recommends the vaccine be delivered in two doses. Medical experts say that Koplik spots are actually a way to contain measles outbreaks because they appear days before a much more noticeable rash. "There's no evidence that measles immunity wanes".

The use of quarantines and other orders are driven in part by a growing concern that outbreaks of measles and other diseases could get worse, despite the availability of effective vaccines, some health experts said. People born prior to 1957 were likely exposed to the measles and are therefore considered immune. In 1912, according to the CDC, "measles became a nationally notifiable disease in the United States, requiring USA healthcare providers and laboratories to report all diagnosed cases".

Officials say it depends on a few factors: if you were vaccinated, when you were vaccinated, or if you lost documentation proving you got the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot. Here's what to know about measles booster shots.

"We have more and more people who are choosing not to vaccinate themselves or their children, and that is putting not only themselves at risk but everyone else at risk, particularly the young and those who are medically vulnerable", Conaway told NJ Advance Media.

One MMR vaccine dose protected about 95 per cent of the population, with a second dose protecting close to 99 per cent.

Which vaccine did I get? And just one does is only 93-percent effective in protecting a person from measles. Since then, there have been additional people from Brooklyn and Queens who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel. For anyone who's unsure, the CDC says you can simply roll up your sleeve for another dose or two.

Esper said the MMR vaccine is so effective that someone who is not vaccinated can get the vaccine up to a day or so after measles exposure, and that will prevent measles from taking root. Some persons may experience a mild fever, pain or redness where you get the injection, or mild joint pain in some women.

The first time you can get the MMR vaccine is at 12-15 months old.

The news comes as lawmakers in NY announced they are introducing legislation that would remove all non-medical exemptions from vaccine requirements for children in the state. Luckily, there is a blood test you can take to see if you're safe.

Other reports by iNewsToday