Published: Tue, April 16, 2019
Medical | By

Global measles cases soar in first three months of 2019, World Health Organization says

Global measles cases soar in first three months of 2019, World Health Organization says

The number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by almost 20 percent in the week ended April 11, in the country's second-worst outbreak in almost two decades, federal health officials reported on Monday. Scientists are concerned measles could return even though it was "eliminated" in the US 20 years ago.

Currently, the 2019 tally is the highest since an outbreak in 2014 that saw 667 cases.

While 20 states have reported cases, NY has been the epicenter. "This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was eliminated in 2000", the CDC said in a statement. The World Health Organization reported Monday there were more than 110,000 measles cases worldwide in the first three months of 2019 - an increase of almost 300% from the same period previous year.

The six current outbreaks, in California, New Jersey, New York and Washington states, are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines, where large measles outbreaks are occurring, the CDC said.

A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg, two days after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn in response to a measles outbreak, is seen in New York, U.S., April 11, 2019. The cases were found in 20 states spanning the country.

Experts say overall vaccination rates of 90 to 95 percent are needed to provide "herd immunity", which helps keep outbreaks at bay and protect babies who are too young to be vaccinated and others who can't get the vaccine for medical reasons.

"There is insufficient evidence of a measles epidemic or risky outbreak to justify the respondents' extraordinary measures, including forced vaccination", said the lawsuit, identifying the parents only by their initials.

Claims about health risks from vaccines are "based purely on fabrication", he continued.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can sometimes lead to serious health complications, including infections of the lungs and brain. And that measles is far from harmless.

Measles can also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely or have a low-birth-weight baby.

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