United States holds on to measles elimination status

Laverne Higgins
October 8, 2019

"Australia has been deemed measles free, which means we need to have imported cases", she said.

Seven new cases of measles were recorded in the United States last week, federal health officials on Monday. Usually measles is not a risky disease, but this year 10% of the people who came down with it were hospitalized and one case ended up with encephalitis, a serious brain infection.

In related news, 74,698 flu-like cases were reported last week, down 6.2 percent from the previous week and lower than the epidemic threshold, the CDC said.

CDC said, "The end of the NY state measles outbreak is a credit to the great work by local and state health departments, community and religious leaders, and other partners".

As measles outbreaks continue to occur in countries around the world, there always remains a risk of measles being imported into the USA, the CDC said.

CDC officials said 131 of the patients who contracted the measles were hospitalized, and 65 of them experienced complications including encephalitis and pneumonia, but no patients died. Fortunately, with the recent announcement of the end of the outbreak in NY, that concern has passed.

The CDC urged people traveling to countries where there have been outbreaks of dengue and Chikungunya fevers to take preventive measures against mosquito bites, while those planning to visit countries where there have been outbreaks of measles to avoid traveling with infants under one year old or children who have not been vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella.

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The United States will maintain its measles elimination status, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced.

After reporting the most measles cases since 1992, there was concern that the United States would lose it's measles elimination status.

The statement from N.Y. State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said that the state had gone more than 42 days, which is "the equivalent of two incubation periods", without any new outbreaks of measles, meaning that they could officially say the outbreak was over.

World Health Organization says that vaccinations prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, but that up to 1.5 million more deaths could be prevented globally if vaccinations were more widely understood and distributed.

"They remain the most powerful tool to preserve health and to save lives", Redfield said.

The US had experienced 1249 cases of measles and 22 outbreaks this year, with 81 cases imported from other countries. One dose of the vaccine is 93% effective at preventing measles, and two doses are 97% effective against the disease.

In the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, according to the CDC, almost all children got measles by the time they were 15 years of age.

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