Reported Measles Cases on the Rise – What You Need to Know
At of the end of May the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the measles outbreak in the U.S. has reached a record high since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000. Currently 18 states have reported cases of measles this year. While Nevada is not one of them at this point, the Nevada State Health Department is on high alert and is warning healthcare providers to be on the lookout for possible measles infections.
Chelsea Wicks, MD, Pediatrician with Renown Medical Group Pediatrics, says that “measles is a highly contagious, viral illness that can lead to severe complications and even death.” According the Dr. Wicks, the signs and symptoms of measles include fever, rash, cough, runny nose and pink eye.Dr. Wicks notes that people at high-risk include those who have recently traveled outside of the country or who have been exposed to someone who has recently traveled internationally. She also emphasizes that those who have not been fully vaccinated are at the highest risk. “At this point, the majority of the cases in the U.S. are in those who have not been fully immunized with the MMR vaccine.”
If you suspect you or a family member may have measles, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible. If you or a family member has not been fully vaccinated with two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, or you are unsure of your vaccine status, contact your healthcare provider’s office or your local health department as they can give you information on where to get this done as quickly and conveniently as possible.
CDC: Highest Number of U.S. Measles Cases Since 2000
The number of measles cases in the United States this year has risen to 288, the highest number for one year since the disease was eliminated from the country in 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
This also is the largest number of measles cases that the country reported in the first five months of a year since 1994, according to the CDC. Health officials say there were 764 cases of measles at this time in May 20 years ago, and 963 by the end of that year.
“We don’t want to break the record of 1994,” says Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general with the U.S. Public Health Service and director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
This is why she’s describing the latest numbers as a “wake-up call,” urging people who are unsure about their vaccine status to get inoculated.
Why are measles cases on the rise?
Of this year’s measles cases, 52% are adults age 20 or older. Those infected so far this year range in age from 2 weeks to 65 years. [...]