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More than 760 measles cases in US, most in New York

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The number of measles cases reported this year in the United States has climbed to 764, according to the...

Posted: May 7, 2019 5:19 AM
Updated: May 8, 2019 10:49 AM

The number of measles cases reported this year in the United States has climbed to 764, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That's 60 more cases than the number reported last week by the agency, which updates the number each Monday.

Cases reported by state health departments to the CDC through May 2 are included in the count, but cases reported after that will not be counted until next week.

Pennsylvania, which has reported five cases of measles as of Thursday, is new to the list of states with cases this year. This brings the number of states reporting cases to 23. The other states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.

Fifty-two of the 60 new cases reported this week were in New York: 41 in New York City and 11 in Rockland County, according to the CDC.

In all, New York has reported 716 cases of measles since October, when an unvaccinated child traveled to Israel and returned home with the highly contagious disease, according to health officials.

'Since then, there have been additional people from Brooklyn and Queens who were unvaccinated and acquired measles while in Israel. People who did not travel were also infected in Brooklyn and Rockland County,' the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says.

These New York outbreaks, in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, are the longest and largest since measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning it was no longer transmitted within the United States.

Last week, Demetre Daskalakis, New York City's deputy health commissioner, said the outbreak isn't under control 'because we have people actively working against us.' His comments were in reference to misinformation about the measles, mumps and rubella or MMR vaccine, which is recommended to prevent the disease.

Health officials blame the rise of vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, on an increase in anti-vaccine rhetoric.

'Another factor contributing to the outbreaks in New York is misinformation spreading in some counties about the safety and effectiveness of the MMR vaccine. Sadly, these communities are being targeted with inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines,' Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said last week on a CDC call.

In the New York neighborhoods affected by the measles outbreak, health and government officials have begun fining those who remain unvaccinated and have fined and closed schools for allowing unvaccinated students to attend.

'Health leaders, communities, all groups need to work together but there will be more cases [in New York] before this is over,' Messionnier said.

On a call last week organized by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, New Jersey Commissioner of Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal said that travel between his state and New York is a big concern.

As of April 23, there were 14 cases of measles reported in New Jersey.

An outbreak in Michigan was started when an infected person from New York came to Detroit, unknowingly spreading the virus. And one case in Connecticut has been linked to a resident who visited New York, according to state health officials.

Dr. Karen Smith, director and state public health officer at the California Department of Public Health, spoke on last week's call about the use of quarantine at Cal State and UCLA to try to prevent the number of cases from growing in her state.

'One tool is quarantine which typically means limiting exposure,' she said, explaining that a person is released from quarantine once they show proof of immunity to measles.

As of Thursday, there were 40 cases of measles in 12 California counties this year. Smith said most of the cases there are from four outbreaks, each of which began when an unvaccinated traveler returned home infected.

The CDC recommends two doses of the MMR vaccine: the first dose for children when they are between 12 and 15 months old and the second when children are 4 to 6 years old.

Babies between 6 months and 12 months should be vaccinated before international travel or if they live in a community experiencing an outbreak. That dose may not offer lasting protection, so the other two doses should be administered as recommended for routine vaccination.

Babies who are traveling to or living in an area with an ongoing outbreak who have had a first dose at 12 months to 15 months do not need to wait until age 4 for that second dose; rather, they can and should get it anytime after 28 days from the first vaccination.

As for adults, the CDC recommends that those who were born during or after 1957 who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR. Those born before 1957 are assumed to have had measles and are therefore immune and don't need to be vaccinated.

People who are planning to travel internationally who have not had measles or the MMR vaccine are advised to complete vaccination two to three weeks before departing to ensure protection against the disease. If uncertain of vaccination, immunity can be checked with a blood test, or a person may opt to have the vaccine.

'Once measles is in an undervaccinated community, it is difficult to control the spread of disease. Vaccination is our best tool,' Messonnier said.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 103813

Reported Deaths: 3993
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles498602241
Riverside7341313
San Diego7100260
Orange5744142
San Bernardino4914190
Alameda309794
Santa Clara2701140
San Francisco243740
San Mateo202282
Kern200737
Tulare183580
Fresno165832
Santa Barbara163612
Imperial144326
Contra Costa138437
Sacramento134956
Ventura106232
San Joaquin84235
Kings7043
Stanislaus68328
Sonoma5304
Solano50922
Monterey4699
Marin43614
Merced2807
San Luis Obispo2681
Yolo20723
Santa Cruz2062
Placer1969
Napa1113
Humboldt983
Madera942
San Benito852
El Dorado840
Del Norte440
Sutter422
Nevada411
Butte400
Shasta374
Mono351
Yuba281
Mendocino250
Lake230
Inyo191
Mariposa161
Calaveras150
Glenn140
Amador100
Siskiyou60
Colusa50
Lassen50
Tuolumne40
Plumas40
Tehama41
Alpine20
Trinity10
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Chico
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We'll be staying hot on Friday, but won't be as hot as the last few days. The potential for active weather returns Friday night into Saturday and much cooler temperatures are on the way for your weekend.
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