USA measles cases surge again as outbreak nears record

Maricruz Casares
Abril 16, 2019

Countries with high numbers of infections in the past six months include Madagascar with 70,000 cases, Ukraine with 49,000, the Philippines with 8800 and Venezuela with 5700.

It said the number of measles cases worldwide rose to 112,163 against the same period past year, citing provisional data.

"We are very concerned about Passover and the [spring] break, this is a time students and families are congregating", Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Dr. Herminia Palacio said.

Measles isn't just rising in the United States.

The agency noted that only about one in 10 actual measles cases were reported, meaning the early trends for 2019 were likely to underestimate the severity of the outbreaks. World Health Organization warned that there are delays in reporting and this data may be incomplete. "Many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases", the WHO added.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there have been 555 individual confirmed cases of measles since the start of the year in 20 states.

The CDC recommends two doses of the measles mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine for children. The first dose gives 93% protection against measles and the second dose gives 97% protection.

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Experts point to one reason for this year's large outbreak: the power of the anti-vaccination movement.

Five parents filed a lawsuit with the New York State court against the city's health department on Monday, requesting a halt to emergency orders requiring the measles vaccine on the grounds that it goes against their religious beliefs.

"Vaccine is the path to stopping this outbreak", Palacio said.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington have all reported cases of the disease.

The measles outbreak has spread primarily in the Orthodox Jewish community, where vaccination rates are lower, throughout four zip codes encompassing greater Williamsburg.

"Most measles outbreaks in the U.S. stop sooner than this", she said.

Public health officials say current measles outbreaks in the USA are fueled by the anti-vaccination movement, which questions the safety of vaccines and frequently spreads false information on social media.

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