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CDC Is Warning Healthcare Providers That Measles Cases Are On The Rise 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning health officials across the nation that cases of measles are on the rise. The CDC sent out an email on Thursday after reports of nearly two dozen cases since December. They believe these outbreaks are mainly caused by children who were eligible for the vaccine but have not received it, according to reports from USA Today

The alert stated that healthcare providers should look for patients experiencing rash, fever, and pay attention to those who have recently traveled internationally. The CDC said that officials have tracked seven cases of measles that were brought into the nation from international travelers, and two outbreaks with more than five cases each. 

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Most of the cases were in children who have not been vaccinated for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine even if they were eligible. 

“The U.S. is at a ‘canary in the coal mine’ moment with rising cases among children of the highly infectious, vaccine-preventable disease,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. 

Federal data has also shown that there’s been a general decrease in vaccinations in young children, and there are currently record-breaking levels of vaccine exemptions in kindergartners specifically. 

“We’re going to start seeing more and more of these outbreaks. We’re going to see more kids seriously ill, hospitalized and even die. And what’s so tragic about this, these are all preventable,” Osterholm said to USA TODAY.

According to the CDC, around a fifth of people who get measles will be hospitalized, and one in 1,000 people who get the virus develop brain swelling that could lead to brain damage. They also warned that one to three in a thousand will die. 

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“The U.S. is seeing a growing body of parents who don’t want to comply with vaccine recommendations, coupled with lagging access to health care to get vaccinated amid the pandemic,” Osterholm said

The US has seen outbreaks in Philadelphia and Washington state, with also documenting exposures in the Washington DC area. Separate cases have been reported in Atlanta and New Jersey as well.

“Between Dec. 1 and Jan. 23, there were 23 cases in the U.S. There were 56 cases in all of 2023 and 121 cases in 2022,” the CDC said. 

Researchers from the CDC and the World Health Organization recently released a report that highlighted the increases in global measles cases and deaths within the last year. In 2022, according to the CDC and WHO, there were 9 million cases with 136,000 deaths, mostly in children. 

Europe has also seen a major rise in measles cases. 

“The increased number of measles importations seen in recent weeks is reflective of a rise in global measles cases and a growing global threat from the disease,” the CDC said Thursday.

WHO, CDC Warn Measles Outbreak Possible After 22 Million Infants Miss Their Vaccines

A study published by the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows the possibility of a global measles outbreak has increased after 22 million infants missed their vaccinations because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 3 million more than in 2019.

Two-thirds of the infants are located in just ten countries, which include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and Ethiopia.

According to the World Health Organization, measles are the world’s most contagious virus, but also the most “entirely preventable,” with the vaccine having averted more than 30 million deaths over the last 20 years.

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After a global measles resurgence from 2017-2019, the disease saw a drop in 2020 due to the pandemic. In the U.S., just 13 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 2020, down from 1,282 reported cases in 2019. However, the CDC notes that despite the decline, millions of children were more susceptible to measles at the end of 2020 than they were at the end of 2019.

There were a number of possible causes for the measles decline in 2020, one of them being lower transmission rates — thanks in part to social distancing and quarantining — and increased immunity. However, a more likely culprit is the underreporting of cases after “large and disruptive measles outbreaks in 2020.”

Per the WHO, despite there being a safe and cost-effective measles vaccination, there were 140,000 measles deaths globally in 2018, mostly among children under the age of five. On average, there are around 60,000 measles deaths a year, along with 7.5 million cases.

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The measles vaccine come in two doses, which is critical for it to be successful. The first dose coverage fell in 2020, while only 70% of children received their second vaccine dose, which the WHO explains is far below the 95% coverage needed to protect communities from a measles outbreak.

According to The Hill, the number of specimens sent to the WHO Global Measles and Rubella Laboratory Network hit a low that hasn’t been seen in more than a decade. 35 countries did not report rates for the first measles shot, while 50 countries did not report rates for the second measles shot.

In addition to the missed vaccines by infants, 24 measles vaccine supplemental campaigns in 23 countries were postponed due to COVID-19, leaving more than 93 million people at risk for the virus. These campaigns are important because they’re needed where people have missed out on measles-containing vaccines through routine immunization program.

In a statement, WHO Director of Immunization Dr. Kate O’Brien explained we are likely seeing “the calm before the storm” when it comes to a measles outbreak, and stressed the importance of continual vaccination against all diseases.

“It’s critical that countries vaccinate as quickly as possible against COVID-19, but this requires new resources so that it does not come at the cost of essential immunization programs. Routine immunization must be protected and strengthened; otherwise, we risk trading one deadly disease for another.”

Along with the risk of death, measles can also cause swelling, blindness, pneumonia, dehydration, diarrhea, and encephalitis, which can cause swelling of the brain. More basic symptoms include a high fever and rashes.

Measles

NYC Declares End To Largest Measles Outbreak In 30 Years, But The Fight Continues …

The New York City public health crisis involving over 600 cases of measles is officially over, according to Mayor Bill De Blasio. This officially marks the ending of the largest measles outbreak the city has seen in almost thirty years.