U.S. records 839 cases of Measles

Henrietta Brewer
May 16, 2019

The outbreak there began when an unvaccinated child traveled to Israel and returned home with the highly contagious disease, New York City health officials have said.

Public health officials blame the measles resurgence on the spread of misinformation about vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports half of all states in the US are now reporting active measles cases.

Officials in New York City and Rockland County - where almost 700 people combined have contracted measles since late past year - have taken measures such as declaring emergencies over the issue and implementing bans on unvaccinated minors in certain schools or public places. Up to 90 per cent of people who are exposed will catch the virus if not immunised.

A vocal fringe of US parents oppose the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, believing, contrary to scientific consensus, that it can cause autism.

A total of 75 new cases were reported in the week ending May 10, among which 41 were reported in New York City and 25 in nearby Rockland County.

During a news conference Friday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, "We believe in science". Lawmakers in CT are trying to remove the religious exemption from vaccines. According to health officials, most of the new cases were reported in New York City and its suburbs, where hundreds of cases have been reported this year. "The vaccine avoidance problem is not limited to measles".

The new study, released May 9, identified the 25 US counties most at-risk for a measles outbreak, based on "the area's volume of worldwide travel from foreign countries with large measles outbreaks and the prevalence of nonmedical exemptions from childhood vaccinations". Since those outbreaks began, providers in New York City and Rockland County have administered more than 40,000 doses of the MMR vaccine.

"Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected when they travel internationally", the CDC says.

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