Published: Thu, May 16, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Measles Cases Top 800 in U.S.

Measles Cases Top 800 in U.S.

Officials in New York City and Rockland County - where almost 700 people combined have contracted measles since late a year ago - have taken measures such as declaring emergencies over the issue and implementing bans on unvaccinated minors in certain schools or public places.

HOGAN: The outbreak hit poor black and Latino communities the hardest - Central Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan and the South Bronx.

Immunization rates peaked in the early 1980s because of investment during the prior administration of President Jimmy Carter. "We can stop the outbreak", said Dr. Shadowen. As of May 10, the CDC says 23 states had seen individual cases of measles this year, and several are now experiencing outbreaks: New Jersey, Michigan, Georgia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as Butte, Los Angeles and Sacramento counties in California.

JOEL FORMAN: A lot of kids with measles and pneumonia, measles and croup.

"When he first was sick of measles, he was 7 months - I remember that", Forman says.

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HOGAN: In the summer of 1991, the city and state redoubled their efforts. The outbreak eventually petered out. That year, Congress created the Vaccines for Children program, which funded vaccinations for children whose parents couldn't afford them, and federal funding increased sevenfold from $37 million in 1990 to $261 million in 1995.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Johns Hopkins University have compiled the US counties most at risk for measles - and Travis County is among them. "This spike is concerning, especially because the downward trend in recent weeks demonstrated that it was possible to keep the infection rates from going up", said Ogbonnaya Omenka, an associate professor and public health specialist at Butler University.

As for adults, the CDC recommends that those who were born during or after 1957 who do not have evidence of immunity against measles should get at least one dose of MMR.

The best way to protect against the disease is to get the measles-mumps-rubella shot (MMR) shot.

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