Measles cases growing in US – 288 cases reported in 2014

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Measles is an acute, contagious viral disease, usually occurring in childhood and characterized by eruption of red spots on the skin, fever, and catarrhal symptoms. In US, since January, 288 cases of measles were reported and number is growing.

A report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said nearly all of the measles cases this year were associated with unvaccinated people who traveled to countries where measles is common, getting infected and returning home to infect others.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, said 90 percent of all U.S. measles cases were in people who were not vaccinated or whose vaccination status was unknown.

Of the 288 cases, 97 percent were associated with importations — people getting infected in another country and bringing the illness with them back to the United States — from at least 18 countries. Of the cases this year, more than 1 in 7 resulted in hospitalization.

As the summer travel season begins, the CDC advises two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine for everyone beginning at age 12 months. For babies traveling internationally, the CDC recommends those older than 6 months should receive the MMR vaccine prior to departure.

While measles remains officially “eliminated” in the USA — because there have been no sustained homegrown outbreaks in recent years — “this is a reminder that we cannot let our guard down,” Schuchat said.

Measles, once a common childhood disease in the USA, is seen so infrequently today that doctors may not always recognize symptoms. Those include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, sore throat and a red rash that appears after three to five days. The virus is highly contagious and spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA

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