News

A bunch of people are getting Measles

A bunch of people are getting Measles

MEASLES:Between Jan. 1 and May 23 of this year, 288 measles cases were reported to the federal health agency, the highest year-to-date total since 1994, officials said. Photo: Associated Press

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Measles cases have hit a 20-year high in the United States, a troubling increase fueled by international travel by people who have not been vaccinated against the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

Between Jan. 1 and May 23 of this year, 288 measles cases were reported to the federal health agency, the highest year-to-date total since 1994, officials said.

“This is not the kind of record we want to break, but should be a wake-up call to travelers and parents to make sure vaccinations are up to date,” said Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases.

Home-grown measles in the United States was declared eliminated in 2000, but cases imported from patients traveling abroad continue to infect unvaccinated U.S. residents with the highly contagious respiratory disease, according to the CDC.

A large outbreak in the Philippines was connected to 138 cases this year involving Amish communities in Ohio, health officials said. In all, 18 states have reported measles cases this year.

Measles has caused 43 patients to be hospitalized in 2014 but no deaths, Schuchat said.

Unvaccinated residents in the United States provide a “welcome wagon” for measles imported from abroad, Schuchat said, noting the virus is still common in many parts of the world including Europe, Asia and Africa. The Philippines has reported more than 32,000 measles cases and 41 deaths from January to April 20, she said.

Eighty-five percent of the unvaccinated U.S. residents who contracted measles cited religious, philosophical or personal reasons for not getting immunized, the CDC said.

“It was not because they were too young or had medical reasons like leukemia,” Schuchat said. “These outbreaks illustrate that clusters of people with like-minded beliefs who forgo vaccines can be susceptible to outbreaks when the virus in imported.”

The CDC recommends that, starting at age 12 months, infants receive two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. Infants aged 6 through 11 months old should receive one dose of MMR vaccine before international travel.

The health agency also recommends vaccination for adults who were not immunized as children or are unsure of their immunization history.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Marguerita Choy)

Recent Headlines

45 mins ago in Music

Lennon’s lyrics, Cobain’s letter and Gaga’s piano up for auction

Fresh
johnlennon296387483243

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics, Lady Gaga's first piano and an angry note from Kurt Cobain discussing the possibility of disbanding Nirvana after an unflattering magazine article are among the top items being offered at an upcoming auction.

54 mins ago in Viral Videos

An honest trailer for ‘Captain America’

Fresh
14-overlay-2

Let's celebrate this weekend's release of "Captain America: Civil War" by looking back on the 1990 never-released movie that gives the Dolph Lundgren "Punisher" film a painfully slow run for its money.

1 hour ago in Music

Radiohead releases single under cloud of intrigue

Fresh
12-overlay-1

The British rockers returned to the Internet with a new music video, after the band stumped fans by deleting all posts on their Twitter account over the weekend.

1 hour ago in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ told by emojis

Fresh
11-overlay-2

If the blockbuster movie was told entirely by characters on your cell phone.

18 hours ago in Music

Desert Trip is going to make October a memorable month

bobdylan

Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Neil Young and more are set to take California by storm this fall.