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Measles Outbreaks Surge Across the US, Cases Crosses Bar of 100

Visual Representation for Measles | Credits: Getty Images

United States: The cases linked to measles infections has been spreading across the United States and now the concerns of health authorities have increased because the number of cases have crossed the bar of 100, nationwide.

The health authorities mentioned that the concerns heightened after the total number of cases reached 113 cases across 17 US states. The numbers were shared by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on April 5. According to health experts, the total number of cases has doubled the number of cases reported in the year 2023, i.e., 58.

Currently, there have been a total of seven outbreaks, characterized by the CDC as three or more interconnected instances, a rise from four in 2023. This year, over 70 percent of all occurrences have been linked to an outbreak, with approximately half of the patients being children under the age of five (5), according to the US News.

The CDC reports that over 80 percent of measles infections are among individuals who are either unvaccinated or possess an unknown vaccination status, while 12 percent of incidents involve individuals who have only received a single dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.

Chicago leads in the number of cases within the United States, totaling 58 infections as of April 8, according to the latest data from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The bulk of measles occurrences in Chicago have been associated with an outbreak at one of the city’s largest migrant shelters, according to the US News.

In an update provided on April 5, CDPH noted a decline in measles cases within the city, with merely five new cases reported during the week of March 31 to April 5, compared to 23 infections reported from March 24 to March 30.

According to CDPH, the agency has organized over 75 MMR vaccine events at the city’s new arrival shelters since the commencement of March, resulting in more than 6,000 migrants receiving vaccination since the identification of the initial measles case.

“CDPH and our public partners have promptly responded to reports of measles to conduct appropriate testing, ensure individuals are receiving necessary care and isolating from others while contagious, and vaccinate those eligible and not yet up to date with the MMR vaccine,” stated CDPH.

Other locations experiencing significant measles occurrences in recent months include Florida, where 11 cases have arisen this year, as per reports, with many linked to transmission among students at an elementary school in Broward County. State health authorities announced the conclusion of the infection period associated with the school cases on March 8.

Concerns regarding measles cases in the United States heightened in January following reports of up to nine individuals being infected in an outbreak involving a children’s hospital and daycare center in Philadelphia.

Measles, being highly contagious, can infect up to 90 percent of individuals in close proximity to an infected person if they lack immunity. The virus can lead to complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis and can result in the death of approximately 1 to 3 children per 1,000 infected, the reports by US News revealed.

The increase in measles cases in the United States and globally prompted the CDC to issue an advisory on March 18, urging parents to ensure their children receive two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, which has demonstrated 97 percent effectiveness.

The surge in cases coincides with a decrease in vaccination rates and an uptick in exemptions for the 2022-2023 school year among kindergartners.

Although the overall level of measles vaccination coverage may prevent a large-scale outbreak, public health experts express concern about potential outbreaks within clusters of vulnerable communities with low vaccination rates.

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