Over 1,000 people have become infected by the measles in the United States according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control. Due to the spike in measles cases, the CDC issued a warning to anyone traveling internationally to get vaccinated. According to the CDC, the measles cases in the United States are related to outbreaks in Europe and parts of Asia.
On June 13, 2019, the CDC reported a total of 1,044 cases of measles in the United States. Last year the United States reported a total of 372 measles cases. With only six months complete in 2019, the United States cases are nearly three times more than all of 2018.
According to the CDC, the last time the United States reported this many cases of the measles was in 1992. In 2000, the United States eradicated measles from the country. However, those days are long behind us.
As of last week, the virus has spread to 28 states including: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. Current outbreaks remain in California, New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.
Outbreaks in New York have been ongoing since September 2018. Despite efforts by the New York Health Department, the state has been unsuccessful in ending the spread of the virus. Rockland County, New York reported 272 infections on June 18, 2019.
An outbreak in New York City added eight new cases to their nearly 600 reported infections since the outbreak started. Efforts taken to stop the spread of the virus by officials has drastically reduced the number of new infections added in the recent weeks.
The outbreaks in New York have created the most infections in the United States in 2019. According to the CDC, the virus spread to New York after travelers brought the virus from parts of Europe. In Europe, ongoing outbreaks remain in Isreal and Ukraine. Around the world, cases of the measles are up by 300% in 2019, according to the World Health Organization.
To end the spread of the virus, the CDC issued a warning to all citizens planning to travel abroad. Many popular travel destinations are experiencing outbreaks, which include: Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Ukraine, the Philippines. Each year the CDC estimates that 110,000 people die from the measles.
Due to the possibility for life-threatening complications, the CDC encourages all travelers to ensure they are up to date on all of their vaccinations. Individuals should plan to be fully vaccinated two weeks before they depart for their trip.Additionally, the CDC recommends infants under 12 months of age receive at least one dose of the MMR before they travel if they are between 6-11 months old. Children over 12 months old, teens, and adults should get their first dose immediately and get a second dose 28 days after their first vaccination.
After arriving home from travel, the CDC urges travelers to pay attention to their symptoms. The measles virus can take up to 21 days to infect an individual after exposure. Signs of the measles are:
Watch your health for three weeks after you return. Measles symptoms typically include:
- high fever (may spike to more than 104° F)
- runny nose (coryza)
- red, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
- rash (3-5 days after symptoms begin)
Efforts by the CDC and local governments have enabled the spread of the measles to slow down in recent months. Now individuals that are traveling need to do their part to ensure no new cases arrive in the United States.
If the United States doesn’t stop the spread of the virus, we could see more than 2,000 cases of the measles by the end of the year.
For more information on the travel warning, visit the CDC.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis on The Non-Sequitur Channel. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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