Measles infections quadruple worldwide in past year, driven by anti-vaxxers

Alicia Farmer
April 16, 2019

New York City has had 285 cases, virtually all of them in Brooklyn, since the outbreak began in October.

Health officials on Monday said 555 measles cases have been confirmed so far this year, up from 465 as of a week ago. By the end of the year, the number of measles cases in the USA could come close to the tally reported 25 years ago in 1994: 963 cases. It is the worst outbreak seen in the city since 1991, the mayor said.

Last week, New York City officials declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations to halt the outbreak concentrated among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, putting in place the broadest vaccination order in the United States in almost three decades.

Of those, 273 were reported this year, including 44 cases since last week, when New York City officials declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations to halt the outbreak concentrated among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn.

The states that have reported cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

"Over recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States.as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people", the World Health Organization said.

Several countries around the world are now experiencing massive measles outbreaks.

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After the vaccine, cases plummeted, with 963 cases in 1994. And the European Union is tallying about a thousand cases a month.

Some 112,163 cases of measles globally were reported between January and March this year compared to just 28,124 during the same period last year.

More American families are bringing measles home with them after traveling overseas, Cohn says.

It also appealed for better vaccination coverage. But when an global traveler exposed to measles overseas brings the disease into the country, pockets of unvaccinated communities within the USA enable the disease to spread. About 10 percent of children develop ear infections, which can cause permanent hearing damage. It has not mutated to become more infectious or more risky, instead the answers are entirely human. This can lead to convulsions and leave a child deaf or with an intellectual disability. According to the CDC, there was an average of 6,000 measles-related deaths each year within the first decade of the disease being reported.

Several people had to be hospitalized, but no fatalities had been reported as of last week.

They added: "More than 20 million lives have been saved through measles vaccination since the year 2000 alone". "I think we eliminated the memory of that virus", Dr. Paul Offit of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia told NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday.

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