Measles Cases in US Reach Second-Highest Level Since 2000

A doctor preparing to give a shot

Measles cases rose 300 per cent worldwide through the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period a year ago, the United Nations said on Monday (April 15), as concern grows over the impact of anti-vaccination stigma.

Measles is so contagious that 90 per cent of people who aren't immunised are infected if exposed to the virus.

As of last week, New York City health officials had reported 285 measles cases since the fall, most in children under 18; 21 have been hospitalized, five in intensive care units.

The agency said actual numbers may be far greater, since only one in 10 cases globally are reported.

If the outbreaks aren't brought under control, public health experts worry that the cases in 2019 will hit a record almost two decades after measles was "eliminated" in the United States.

The CDC notes that the 555 cases reported so far this year is the second-highest number of cases reported in the USA since the disease was eliminated in 2000.

The provisional 2019 data shows that cases have spiked "in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States", WHO warned.

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As the number of confirmed measles cases in NY continues to tick up, one county is determined to stem the spread of the disease by keeping it out of public spaces. Numerous cases in the U.S.in 2014 were associated with cases brought in from the Philippines, which experienced a large measles outbreak.

Increasing the coverage of vaccination maximizes protection, but 95 percent vaccination coverage is needed to prevent outbreaks, according to WHO.

Last month, Italy banned children under six from attending schools unless they had received vaccines for chickenpox, measles and other illnesses. The country is facing its larges measles outbreak in history.

A group of Brooklyn parents from the affected zip codes filed a lawsuit on Monday in Kings County Supreme Court against the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and its commissioner, Oxiris Barbot, assailing the mandatory vaccination requirement which followed Mayor de Blasio's declaration of a public health emergency on April 9.

"We eliminated measles from this country in 2000, and". If the current trend continues, the record of 667 cases set in 2014 will be eclipsed well before the end of this year. Africa saw a 700-percent increase compared to previous year.

In Clark County, 849 non-vaccinated students were barred from 15 schools where children had come down with measles. And the European Union is tallying about a thousand cases a month. Those who are most at risk of complications from measles infection are: pregnant women, infants less than 1 year old and those who are immune compromised.

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