Many people likely thought measles was getting into out of control territory when we continued to hit new records in the last few years, including:
- 220 measles cases in 2011 - a 15 year record and the highest number of cases since 1996
- 58 cases in the 2013 New York City measles outbreak - the largest outbreak since the endemic spread of measles was eliminated in the United States
- local and state public health departments spending from $2.7 million to $5.3 million US dollars to contain just half of the measles outbreaks in 2011
Unfortunately, this year is looking to be even worse considering we have already seen about 4x the number of measles cases we had seen at this point in 2011. Earlier in the week, the CDC reported 54 cases of measles in the United States - more than was reported in all of 2007 (just 43 cases all year).
The number of measles cases is likely to jump significantly though, as the latest CDC report likely doesn't include the latest measles outbreaks:
- a measles outbreak in New York City that is already affecting 7 adults and 9 children in northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
- two more cases of measles in San Diego, California which are linked to an outbreak in February, when a person exposed others at two different Naval medical facilities after contracting measles in the Philippines. The new cases likely exposed hundreds of other people at four different sites around San Diego, including an urgent-care center.
- a second case of measles in Macomb, Illinois.
- two more cases of measles in Massachusetts, this time in Middlesex County.
Why the jump in cases? The CDC puts some of the blame on unvaccinated children and adults traveling to the Philippines, where a large outbreak recently killed 23 children, but it is important to keep in mind that there are outbreaks in many other countries too.
In addition to the Philippines, there are outbreaks of measles in the Netherlands, Turkey, Italy, Germany, the UK, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Japan, too. Although Europe reported a milder measles season last year, they still had over 10,000 cases, which were complicated by 8 cases of acute measles encephalitis and 3 deaths.
Measles is a vaccine-preventable disease though. We don't have to let it get out of control. We can stop the outbreaks before we start to see even more cases and start to see more complications of measles.
Get Educated. Get Vaccinated. Stop the Outbreaks.
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