Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Measles threatening a comeback in U.S.

ATLANTA — Federal health officials warned Thursday that the United States could be on the verge of a major outbreak of measles, a viral disease that had been declared wiped out in this country in 2000.

The official tally of measles cases between Jan. 1 and April 25 was 64, the highest number in six years, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Another eight were reported this week among members of a single family who attended a religious conference in Washington state, the CDC said.

While the numbers seem small, two developments could set the stage for a major resurgence in this country: an increase in the numbers of people choosing not to get vaccinated and ongoing outbreaks of the disease in Israel and Europe, CDC officials said.

Among the confirmed cases were an unvaccinated health care worker who was infected in a hospital and 17 people who were infected while visiting a health care facility, including a 12-month-old child exposed in a physician's office.

U.S. residents accounted for 59 of the 64 cases. The largest concentration of cases has been in New York City, with 22 cases. Arizona has had 15, California 12, and Michigan and Wisconsin have each had four. Hawaii, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia and upstate New York also reported cases.

In the outbreaks so far this year, two-thirds of children old enough to be immunized were not vaccinated because of family personal or religious beliefs, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Health officials increasingly are seeing clusters of children whose parents are choosing not to vaccinate them, she said.

The worst year for measles was 1958, say modern public health records. More than 763,000 cases were reported that year, including 552 deaths.

About the disease

Measles is caused by a virus that normally grows in cells that line the back of the throat and the lungs. It spreads through contact with a sneezing, coughing, infected person. Symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes. About one in five measles sufferers experience more severe illness that can include diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis and even seizures and death.

>>FAST FACTS

About the disease

Measles is caused by a virus that normally grows in cells that line the back of the throat and the lungs. It spreads through contact with a sneezing, coughing, infected person. Symptoms include rash, high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. About one in five measles sufferers experience more severe illness that can include diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia, encephalitis and even seizures and death.

Measles threatening a comeback in U.S. 05/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 1:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]