U.S. measles cases surge again as outbreak nears record

U.S. measles cases surge again as outbreak nears record

"By the time you finish reading this, we estimate that at least 40 people - a lot of them children - will be infected by this fast-moving, life-threatening disease", Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, wrote in an opinion piece Monday on CNN.

Measles cases rose 300 percent worldwide through the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period past year, the United Nations said Monday, as concern grows over the impact of anti-vaccination stigma.

- US measles cases have surged again, and are on pace to set a record for most illnesses in 25 years. If the current trend continues, the record of 667 cases set in 2014 will be eclipsed well before the end of this year.

In the first quarter of the year, 170 countries reported some 112,000 infections, up from 28,000 in the first quarter of 2018.

How measles outbreaks spread in the U.S.

. The cases were found in 20 states spanning the country.

Before the first measles vaccine became available in 1963, the disease killed hundreds of people and hospitalized 48,000 each year, according to the CDC. Six of the additional 44 cases are newly diagnosed, while the other 38 are recently discovered, the NY health department said.

Measles has been reported in 20 states this year, with notable outbreaks in NY and Washington.

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Although the disease could be prevented if 95 per cent of the population were immunised, the World Health Organization reported that global coverage for the first dose of the two-step vaccination has stalled at 85 per cent for several years.

In 2000, health officials announced that they had rid the country of measles.

The mistaken belief can be traced back to 1998, when a doctor in the United Kingdom published a now discredited study claiming the MMR vaccine was linked to autism. "That's been proven. There is no association whatsoever between the measles vaccine and autism".

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

The CDC recommends two doses of the measles mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine for children.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious health complications, including infections of the lungs and brain.

Measles can also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely or have a low-birth-weight baby.

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