Published: Sun, April 28, 2019
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Measles outbreak just set a unsafe record

Measles outbreak just set a unsafe record

The illness, according to Dr. Lim, was almost eradicated in the U.S.in 2000 but is making an alarming comeback.

Since 2000, the annual number of reported measles cases has ranged from 37 people in 2004 to 667 in 2014. Experts say the resurgence of this highly contagious and potentially serious illness is due, in large part, to misinformation about the benefits and potential dangers of vaccines.

The so-called anti-vax, or anti-vaxxer phenomenon has adherents across Western nations but is particularly high profile in the USA, where it has been fueled by medically baseless claims spread on social media.

New York City declared a public health emergency related to a measles outbreak earlier this month, and Los Angeles County declared an outbreak on Tuesday, as five cases of measles are being investigated by county health officials. It's highly contagious, said Patel - so much so that if one person in a room of 100 unvaccinated people has the measles, 90 others will get it.

"The initial child with measles was unvaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring", the NYC Health Department said in a statement on its website. Modern vaccinations against measles are 97 percent effective, according to health officials.

The Georgia Department of Public Health says three cases of measles have been reported in the Atlanta area.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, in a statement, said the rise in measles cases is "avoidable".

One such community is in NY where there is a lot of misinformation about the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine.

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In New York City, as of April 24, there were 390 confirmed cases of measles in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, diagnosed since October 2018.

Washington state's Clark County has seen the outbreak concentrated among a Russian-speaking community.

Most of those cases were caused by unvaccinated people bringing the disease back from overseas into an unvaccinated group, Patel said.

Nationwide, 22 states have reported cases of measles in 2019.

Twenty-two states have reported measles cases this year, but the vast majority have been in NY.

NYC also recommended that in instances where pregnant women have been exposed, it is critical that the woman's measles immunity be assessed quickly to determine if she should receive intravenous immune globulin (IVIG).

In Oregon, officials reported an additional four cases in Multnomah County, which includes Portland. Most of those cases were centered in one county and involved children 10 or younger who were not immunized.

In this bracket, Nigeria had the highest number of unvaccinated children younger than one year, with almost 4 million, followed by India (2.9 million), Pakistan and Indonesia (1.2 million each), and Ethiopia (1.1 million).

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