Measles outbreak across USA hits 25-year high

One dose bottle of the measles mumps and rubella virus vaccine.									George Frey  Getty Images

One dose bottle of the measles mumps and rubella virus vaccine. George Frey Getty Images

"Over 90% of the measles cases that have occurred in the US have occurred in unvaccinated persons", says Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. There have been 202 confirmed cases of measles in the suburban county north of New York City.

As of April 26, there were 695 confirmed cases in the U.S.

Some of those cases are listed below. "The New York Times published a story about a woman shopping with her toddler, that ran out of the store leaving her purchases behind after a religious Jew came in and coughed." let's go Jews aren't vaccinated", she told her young child.

The biggest and longest-lasting outbreaks are in New York's Rockland County and Brooklyn, centered in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. This can mean that, without realising, parents take a greater risk with the disease than they were ever taking by getting their child vaccinated'.

- New York City officials said some 21,000 people have received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine in affected areas since the outbreak began in October.

And in California, hundreds of college students were quarantined last week after one student with measles attended classes on three days while contagious at the University of California at Los Angeles, and another contagious person spent hours at the library of California State University, Los Angeles.

There have been 43 confirmed cases in MI since March of 2019.

America's measles outbreak shows no signs of slowing down.

This means the US would join Venezuela as the only two countries in North and South America with that status, according to a PBS report that called on the expertise of Stephen Morse, director of the infectious disease epidemiology program at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Dr. William Moss, an infectious disease epidemiologist and pediatrician at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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- Other outbreaks have been reported in Washington state, New Jersey, California's Butte County and MI. Of those 43 cases, 40 of them involved people from Oakland County.

The vast majority of people who get two doses of the measles vaccine are protected for life and do not need a booster shot, Schaffner says.

This advice also applies to people born between 1957 and the early 1960 who may not have been vaccinated against measles at all.

Let's look at how it's spreading so quickly.

Last year, there were 17 outbreaks of the highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease, but most of the cases were from cases in NY state and New Jersey - mainly among unvaccinated members of Orthodox Jewish communities, the CDC said.

To add to that, there are still many places in the world where the measles is still common. Because of that, it's unsurprising that travelers with the measles continue bringing the disease into the US, the CDC said.

So what do we do?

Citing growing concerns over measles outbreaks across the US, President Trump said that Americans have to get vaccinated, parting from previous skepticism over current medical recommendations. Yet experts emphasize that vaccines are safe and the best tool available to prevent measles.

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