On Friday, public health officials announced that the United States has kept its WHO designation of a measles-free nation albeit there were 1,249 cases this year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that nearly 75 percent of measles cases this year were linked to outbreaks in New York State and New York City.
The public health department has blamed anti-vaxxers and the spread of vaccine misinformation, which led to the outbreak in more than 31 states. Many parents refused to get their children vaccinated because they believe that the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine causes autism.
The CDC report said, “Both jurisdictions have since passed two incubation periods for measles with no additional reported cases associated with these outbreaks as of October 1, 2019. However, continued vigilance is important to ensure that elimination is sustained.”
The WHO declared the United States measles-free in 2000, which means there were no continuous transmissions for almost a year.
Typically, the officials considered an outbreak is over when there are no new measles cases for 42 days. This year’s outbreak has narrowly missed that threshold. In New York, the last known rash onset linked to measles was recorded on August 19.
CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said, “Our nation’s successful public health response to this recent measles outbreak is a testament to the commitment and effectiveness of state and local health departments, and engaged communities across the country.”
On Thursday, the NY State Department of Health said that officials administered more than 85,000 shots of the MMR vaccine since October 2018 in counties where the measles outbreak happened. In April, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said, “The outbreak was completely avoidable and that it was the unfortunate result of some people’s choice to deny the proven safety of vaccines.”