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Deadly Surge: Explosive New Outbreak of This Disease in US Already Nearing Total 2023 Case Count

Measles Outbreak in 2024 Almost Surpasses 2023's Total Cases in the US
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Measles cases are on the rise in the United States, officials said.

Mar. 7 2024, Published 1:02 p.m. ET

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The measles virus is posing a significant threat in 2024, with the number of diagnoses in the United States already nearing the total count for the previous year.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that 41 cases were reported in January and February alone, almost reaching the 58 cases recorded throughout 2023. This surge contrasts sharply with the mere three cases reported at the same time last year.

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As of the end of last month, 16 states have confirmed measles cases: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

Among these, Florida is experiencing the largest outbreak, with 10 reported cases, six of which are associated with a single elementary school in Broward County, Politico reported.

The resurgence of measles is largely attributed to declining vaccination rates for the third consecutive year. The CDC links this decline to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which some countries postponed or skipped measles vaccinations.

The CDC's emergency notice emphasized that most of the reported cases occurred among unvaccinated children and adolescents eligible for the measles-containing vaccine (MMR or MMRV).

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Between 2020 and 2022, over 61 million doses of the MMR or MMRV vaccine were postponed or missed due to COVID-related delays in supplementary immunization activities, according to the CDC.

Despite the widespread adoption of the measles vaccine leading to its elimination in the United States in 2000, prolonged measles outbreaks could jeopardize this status.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines measles elimination as the absence of endemic measles virus transmission in a defined geographical area for at least 12 months, provided there's a well-performing surveillance system in place.

However, if measles outbreaks persist for a year or more, the US risks losing its elimination status.

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John Vertefeuille, director of CDC's Global Immunization Division, expressed concern over the escalating measles outbreaks and deaths, emphasizing the urgent need for targeted efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

He noted that measles cases anywhere pose a risk to communities with under-vaccinated populations and underscored the importance of swift action to mitigate the threat of measles.


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