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United States measles cases reach highest number in 25 years, CDC says

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A vial of measles mumps and rubella vaccine and an information sheet is seen at Boston Children's Hospital in Boston

THURSDAY, May 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) - This is only the fifth month of 2019, but already the number of measles cases surpass the totals for any year since 1994, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. It's the largest total since 1994, falling just short of the 963 cases reported that year.

Thanks to the spread of anti-vaccination idea in combination with religious beliefs, measles has experienced a notable resurgence.

"I want to reassure parents that vaccines are safe, they do not cause autism", Redfield said.

If these outbreaks continue through the summer and fall, health officials said, the United States could lose a key public-health achievement: the elimination of measles.

In 2000, measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. But recently, this highly contagious disease has made a comeback - in part due to non-vaccinated clusters of people.

Illnesses have been reported in 26 states, but the vast majority are in New York City.

The CDC says losing that status would be "a huge blow for the nation and erase the hard work done by all levels of public health". "I'm encouraged by the fact that, with aggressive supportive care, there has not been any reported mortality yet in this current outbreak, and I hope that continues, but it's not going to, unfortunately".

Measles outbreaks have plagued New York City and New York's Rockland County, for example, for almost the past 8 months.

The CDC warns that the United States may lose its measles elimination status, which the country achieved in 2000 after years of hard work.

But the illness rebounded at the end of the 1980s, with many cases among young unvaccinated black and Hispanic children living in inner-city areas.

"Your decision to vaccinate will protect your family's health and your community's well-being", he stressed. Most recover from the infection, though health officials say 1 in 4 people who contract measles will be hospitalized. If this year ends that accomplishment, it would be an enormous public-health loss, experts said. "But one in a million, one in ten million, versus the numbers that we're talking about for measles?"

"Basically what happens is your kid gets the measles, they get over it and you think everything is good", Edwards said.

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