Number of measles cases in the U.S. reach 704, the highest point this century

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that there have been more cases of measles reported this year than in the past 25 years. (April 29)
AP, AP

The number of cases of measles in the U.S. reached 704 in 22 states – the highest mark since the highly contagious virus was declared eliminated in this country in 2000 – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday.

The previous highest total since 2000 was 667 in 2014. This year’s surge in cases largely is among unvaccinated people in New York City, suburban Rockland County, New York  and Washington state. 

At no other point in this century had the amount climbed above 400.

This century’s new record was achieved as of April 26, which means the figure will only increase even as new measles cases often slow during warmer weather. 

More: Vaccines are definitely not linked to autism, and other facts you can throw at anti-vaxers

As the number of cases continues to increase, Food and Drug Administration officials took the unusual step last week of reminding people that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is safe and effective.

Last week, Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said measles has again emerged as a public health threat. He added that it is an “urgent public health priority” to monitor measles, mumps and rubella and raise awareness about the importance of immunization.

More: As 71 additional measles cases confirmed, FDA reminds public vaccine is safe

Measles cases have been reported in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.

Measles is caused by a highly infectious virus spread through coughing and sneezing and can circulate among clusters of unvaccinated children or adults. It typically kills one or two per 1,000 cases and can cause long-term damage.

More: Anti-vaxxers open door for measles, mumps, other old-time diseases back from near extinction

The disease has made a comeback among pockets of unvaccinated children and adults. Some parents reject immunizations because of false information, often distributed through social media.

 

 

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