U.S. public health officials report 78 new measles cases, bringing the total to 465 to the current outbreak, which is already the highest in the past five years. This would probably become a record measles outbreak after the MMR vaccine led to measles’ “elimination” in the U.S.
During the first week of April, the number of measles cases rose to 78, among which, four more states have observed their first case in 2019.
So far, cases of measles have been found in over one-third of the states, with most of the cases involving children.
In 2000, public health officials declared that measles has been eliminated from the United States.
In 2014, 667 cases were reported, which was the highest annual total of the century, reporting at a rate of 1.83 cases per day. And in 2019, the rate has increased to nearly 5 cases per day. If that rate continues to increase, 2019 could surpass 2014 by June.
As reported previously, public health officials link the outbreak and spread to unvaccinated children across the country. They have blamed the anti-vaccine movement. The outbreak has been in the areas where parents have hesitated or refused to get their children vaccinated on religious, medical and philosophical backgrounds.
Experts said that the anti-vaccination movement has spread misinformation across the world.
Considering the new CDC numbers, an infectious-disease expert from the Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Peter Hotez, wrote on his Twitter amount, “More bad news. A totally unnecessary and self-inflicted wound, and a direct consequence of an aggressive antivax misinformation campaign.”
Dr. Hotez and his colleagues predicted the spike in measles outbreak and other diseases that can be prevented by vaccines in one of their studies last year. They found that 18 states allowed parents to opt out of school vaccination requirements on religious or philosophical backgrounds.
Now, Dr. Hortez told The Post that of the 15 counties with the non-medical vaccine exemptions, half have reported measles cases.
In Rockland County, public health officials declared a state of emergency and a federal judge barred unvaccinated children from public places a few weeks ago.
The federal judge’s ruling, which was handed down Friday, canceled a ban that would have persisted for 20 more days. Rockland County Executive Ed Day said the goal was to halt the flow of reported measles cases when the judge announced the ban.
Day said, “We will not sit idly by while children in our community are at risk.”
In New York, especially in Queens and Brooklyn, the Orthodox Jewish community has been especially hit hard. New York City’s Health Department on Monday has reiterated its December order to yeshivas in Williamsburg. The officials instructed them to exclude unvaccinated children from daycare and school.
NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said, “This outbreak is being fueled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighborhoods. They have been spreading dangerous misinformation based on fake science.”
Public health experts and international agencies have continued to raise alarms about “vaccine hesitancy.” The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently dubbed “vaccine hesitancy” one of the top global threats of 2019.