Measles outbreak: Measles cases top 700 as outbreaks continue to spread

The 22 states that have reported cases to CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington. In fact, such cases account for 88% of the total thus far this year.

In response to the record number of cases this year, New York City has imposed a mandatory vaccination order, and Rockland County has mandated that anyone with measles must avoid public spaces or face a $2,000-a-day fine.

American health officials report that more than 700 people have been infected by measles this year, marking a 25-year high for the infectious disease.

"The suffering we are seeing today is completely avoidable", US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said. But when an global traveler gets exposed to measles overseas brings the disease into the country, growing pockets of unvaccinated communities within the US enable the disease to spread.

None of the victims of the recent outbreak have died, but 3 per cent have contracted pneumonia and 9 per cent have been hospitalised due to complications from the disease, CDC director Robert Redfield said. The US exceeded that record high in less than four months, highlighting a very concerning outbreak originating from clusters of unvaccinated people. The vaccination status of another 125 people was not known, the CDC said. That was a jump of 78 cases from the previous week, according to the agency.

The measles virus is highly contagious and can cause blindness, deafness, brain damage or death.

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Measles can be deadly, especially for babies and young children.

However, a very small fraction of those infected can suffer complications such as pneumonia and unsafe swelling of the brain. Measles may cause pregnant woman to give birth prematurely or have a low-birth-weight baby.

Up to 10 per cent of patients in the current outbreak are adults who had received one or two doses of the vaccine, the CDC said.

The United States was able to eliminate person-to-person transmission of measles in 2000. The CDC says, if an adult received the recommended two doses as a child, he or she doesn't need a booster shot. Measles remains common in some countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, and unvaccinated travelers to those countries can bring it back to the United States.

"If you think you or someone in your family may have measles, stay at home and phone your doctor to alert them of your symptoms and allow them to make arrangements to assess you safely and without infecting other people, or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for advice", says Phil.

Last year, there were 17 outbreaks of the highly contagious and potentially life-threatening disease, but most of the cases were from cases in NY state and New Jersey - mainly among unvaccinated members of Orthodox Jewish communities, the CDC said.

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