Medical Alert: Measles Cases Top 700 as Outbreaks Continue to Spread

U.S. measles outbreak hits the highest mark in 25 years. MMR vaccine is 93 percent effective at preventing measles
U.S. measles outbreak hits the highest mark in 25 years. MMR vaccine is 93 percent effective at preventing measles

Mega Doctor News

From January 1 to May 17, 2019, 880** individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 24 states. This is an increase of 41 cases from the previous week. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

Driven by ongoing outbreaks in New York state, the number of cases of measles in 2019 has surpassed 700, the highest level in the United States since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.

According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 704 people have been diagnosed with measles so far this year. The majority of these cases occurred in children under the age of 18 who had not been vaccinated.

The news comes as lawmakers in New York announced they are introducing legislation that would remove all non-medical exemptions from vaccine requirements for children in the state.

“Immediacy of action is critical,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said in a press conference on Monday. There have been 202 confirmed cases of measles in the suburban county north of New York City.

In another ongoing outbreak, Brooklyn and Queens have seen 390 cases of measles since October. Most of these cases, as well as those in Rockland County, have involved members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community where misinformation on the safety of vaccines has spread.

Measles is extremely contagious and can be serious for all age groups, but it is most dangerous for children under 5 and adults over 70.

According to the CDC, as many as one out of every 20 children with measles develops pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young kids.

Who needs to be vaccinated?

The CDC recommends all children get two doses of the MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 to 15 months of age, and the second dose between the ages of 4 and 6 years old. It says one dose of the MMR vaccine is 93 percent effective at preventing measles, and two doses are about 97 percent effective.

Health officials are also recommending infants 6 through 11 months receive one dose of the vaccine before international travel.

Teenagers or adults who have not had measles or who have not been vaccinated should get two doses of the MMR vaccine at least 28 days apart.

Anyone who does not know their vaccine status should speak to their health care provider.