On April 12, the CDC issued its latest update(www.cdc.gov) on measles cases and outbreaks in the United States in 2019.
According to the agency's roundup, as of April 11, the number of confirmed measles cases this year stands at 555, up from 465 confirmed cases reported as of April 4.
This latest figure represents the second-highest number of measles cases reported since 2000 -- when the United States declared the disease had been eliminated -- and is already more than the totals for all of 2017 and 2018 combined.
Individual measles cases have been reported in 20 states throughout the country, with multiple outbreaks (defined as three or more cases) ongoing in California, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Washington. According to the CDC, each of these outbreaks can be traced to travelers who brought the disease back from other countries in which measles outbreaks are ongoing.(www.cdc.gov)
The other states reporting cases of the disease are Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon and Texas.
Measles is one of the most contagious of all infectious diseases, according to the CDC;(www.cdc.gov) up to 90% of people who come into close contact with a patient who has measles develop the disease.
The agency also notes that certain patient populations are at increased risk of developing severe illness and complications from measles. They are
- infants and children younger than 5,
- adults older than 20,
- pregnant women, and
- people with compromised immune systems.
Potential complications of measles include permanent hearing loss, pneumonia and brain damage. The CDC estimates that about one in four people in the United States who contract measles will be hospitalized, and one or two people per 1,000 will die from the disease.
As family physicians well know, vaccination is the most effective way to avoid contracting measles and spreading the disease to other people. The yearly immunization schedules jointly developed by the AAFP, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics provide recommendations for routine administration of measles, mumps and rubella, and other vaccines in children, adolescents and adults.
For additional measles-specific information and resources, family physicians are invited to review the AAFP's Measles: Dangerous, Contagious and Preventable media kit published earlier this year.
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CDC: Measles (Rubeola)(www.cdc.gov)