Measles cases near record-high num­bers

15 states bat­tle al­most 400 cases this year

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - John Bacon Con­tribut­ing: Doug Stan­glin, USA TO­DAY; Peter D. Kramer, Rock­land/ Westch­ester Jour­nal News

Surge has thrown a spot­light on anti-vac­ci­na­tion move­ment

Al­most 400 cases of the measles have been con­firmed in 15 states this year as the dis­ease nears record num­bers since be­ing de­clared elim­i­nated al­most two decades ago.

The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion said 387 measles cases have been con­firmed from Jan. 1 to March 28, an in­crease of 73 cases last week alone.

The surge has thrown a spot­light on the anti-vac­ci­na­tion move­ment. Most peo­ple who con­tract measles have not been vaccinated, the CDC said, and measles are ex­tremely con­ta­gious.

“If one per­son has it, up to 90 per­cent of the peo­ple close to that per­son who are not im­mune will also be­come in­fected,” the CDC said.

The record to­tal for one year since 2000 is 667 in 2014. There were 372 cases last year.

Glob­ally, measles is a ma­jor con­cern. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion de­scribes the dis­ease as a prom­i­nent cause of death among chil­dren, even though a vac­cine is avail­able. More than 110,000 peo­ple, most of them chil­dren, died of measles world­wide in 2017. The last measles death on record in the USA was in 2015.

Most of the U.S. cases this year take place where “out­breaks” – de­fined as three or more lo­cal­ized cases – have swept parts of New York, Cal­i­for­nia, Illi­nois, Texas and Wash­ing­ton state, the CDC said. The out­breaks are linked to travelers who brought measles back from coun­tries in­clud­ing Is­rael, Ukraine and the Philip­pines, the CDC said.

Measles is still com­mon in many parts of the world, in­clud­ing some coun­tries in Europe, Asia, the Pa­cific and Africa. The CDC said vac­ci­na­tions are 97 per­cent ef­fec­tive, and the agency urged vac­ci­na­tions for peo­ple trav­el­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally.

In New York, Rock­land County of­fi­cials de­clared a state of emer­gency, cit­ing more than 150 measles cases. The county barred un­vac­ci­nated chil­dren un­der 18 from pub­lic places for 30 days, although parks and out­door ar­eas are not in­cluded.

The ban, which will be in ef­fect for 30 days, prompted a back­lash from a small group of anti-vac­ci­na­tion ad­vo­cates, who protested Thurs­day in what they dubbed on Facebook a “Rock­land County – Un­vac­ci­nated Civil Dis­obe­di­ence.”

Com­mon measles symptoms in­clude fever, runny nose, cough and a rash that can spread across the en­tire body. A very small num­ber of those in­fected can de­velop pneu­mo­nia, swelling of the brain or other se­ri­ous symptoms. Measles also can cause preg­nant women to de­liver pre­ma­turely.

The virus can be spread through the air or through con­tact with sur­faces touched by those who are in­fected. It can live for up to two hours in ar­eas where the in­fected per­son coughed or sneezed and on sur­faces the per­son touched.

Other states that re­ported cases to the CDC are Ari­zona, Colorado, Con­necti­cut, Georgia, Ken­tucky, Michi­gan, Mis­souri, New Hamp­shire, New Jer­sey and Ore­gon.


The Van­cou­ver Clinic in­Wash­ing­ton state warns pa­tients and vis­i­tors to take pre­cau­tions against a measles out­break in the Pa­cific North­west.

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