US measles cases hit highest mark in 25 years

Measles cases 'likely' to break yearly record in just 4 months

"Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed there have been 626 individual cases of measles diagnosed across 22 states in the US since the first of this year".

Last week, the New York City health department said two people contracted the illness from the United Kingdom and one from Ukraine. Up to 30 percent of infected people develop complications from the disease.

Washington lawmakers voted Tuesday to remove parents' ability to claim a personal or philosophical exemption from vaccinating their children for measles, although medical and religious exemptions will remain.

Standard symptoms of the measles include a high fever along with cough, runny nose and runny eyes. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure but may appear as early as seven days and as late as 21 days after exposure. Adult over 20 and children under 5 are more likely to have complications.

Measles is an extremely contagious illness transmitted through respiratory droplets and aerosolized particles that can remain in the air for up to two hours. In 2014, the nation experienced its current record number of measles cases post-2000 eradication with a total of 667 confirmed reports. Eliminated means that the disease is no longer constantly present in this country.

Measles is endemic in many countries other than the United States. One in 4 individuals who contract measles require hospitalization.

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If you believe you may have come in contact with the disease, you should call your doctor before going to their office as you may spread the disease even more.

If you were not at any of these locations during the above dates and times, you are not considered at risk for this measles exposure.

The best prevention against measles is getting two doses of an MMR vaccine. "I would think that we will see less cases and outbreaks of measles in states that eliminate nonmedical vaccine exemptions".

Two doses of the vaccination are required for it to be effective, one within the first year following birth, followed by a second at ages four to six years, he said. "A second vaccine dose is given before the start of kindergarten, between ages 4 and 6 years". "After just one dose of MMR vaccine about 95 per cent of people will be protected from measles, and 99 per cent of people who have had both MMR doses will be protected from measles", Shoemack said. "The only way to protect against measles is to get vaccinated", Dr. Messonnier added.

The CDC reminds Americans that immunizations are critical to the health of individuals and communities.

Large well-designed studies have confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the MMR vaccine and have demonstrated that administration of the vaccine is not associated with the development of autism, says the CDC.

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