Measles Cases Reach Highest Level in 14 Years, CDC Says
CDC on Thursday announced that as of May 23, there have been 288 confirmed cases of measles in the U.S. in 2014, the largest number since the disease was considered eradicated in the country, the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" reports (Brown, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 5/29).
The number of cases this year is than the number of cases in the first five months of any year since 1994, according to CDC (Viebeck, The Hill, 5/29). CDC noted that nearly all the cases were connected to foreign travel by unvaccinated individuals and that about 90% of all patients with measles had not been vaccinated or did not know their vaccination status (Mehrotra, Wall Street Journal, 5/29).
Of the 288 reported cases of measles, 43 individuals were hospitalized and none died. Of the cases in which the origins of the disease could be traced, CDC reported that 22 cases were contracted in the Philippines, two in China, six in India and the remainder in 15 other countries.
In an "unusual twist," more than half of the confirmed cases were found in patients ages 20 or older, the New York Times reports. The number could have included adults whose parents did not vaccinate them when they were children, CDC Director of Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Anne Schuchat said (McNeil, New York Times, 5/29).
The U.S. areas with the most measles cases include:
- Ohio, with 138 confirmed cases;
- California, with 60 confirmed cases; and
- New York, with 26 confirmed cases.
The biggest outbreak, centered in the Amish community in Ohio, is a result of a high rate of unvaccinated residents. According to the Washington Post's "To Your Health," officials are not sure how the Amish community contracted the disease, but Schuchat noted they believe people traveling to conduct faith-based work in foreign countries might be involved (Bernstein, "To Your Health," Washington Post, 5/29).
Schuchat in a conference call said that the measles record "is not the kind ... we want to break" and that CDC's "key message ... is that we can stop this from being an even greater problem" if U.S. residents travelling this summer ensure they get vaccinated ("L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 5/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.