NY measles outbreaks driving spike in new cases

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It's the most in the USA since 1994, when 963 were reported.

Between January 1 and May 3, the CDC has reported 764 cases of measles in 23 states. "We must do everything that we can to prevent measles from gaining a permanent foothold in NY and prevent the further spread of disease nationally", said Dr. Arthur Fougner, president of the Medical Society of the State of NY, in a statement.

However, measles is so contagious that it can flourish in small pockets of under-vaccinated people, which is why, on Friday, the Connecticut Department of Public Health took the unprecedented step of publishing self-reported measles vaccination rates on a school-by-school basis.

The most widespread USA measles outbreak in a quarter-century has infected 60 new patients in the last week, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 764, federal health officials said on Monday.

Topping the list was Italy, with 2,498 reported cases.

Officials have also warned that certain adults living in areas hard-hit by the epidemic, which include parts of California, New Jersey and MI, may need another shot to ensure that they are protected from measles.

Germany's Health Minister Jens Spahn appears to be following New York City's (NYC) efforts to stop an ongoing measles outbreak. Most were unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities.

The CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

The outbreaks in these areas are linked to travelers who returned from other countries, such as Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines, with measles, according to the CDC. However, he said the vaccine will also confer protection should inoculated people contract measles anyway, by shielding them from some of the disease's worst side-effects, one of which is a extended weakening of the immune system after infection.

"Once measles is in an undervaccinated community, it is hard to control the spread of disease".

Seventy-two percent of Americans polled in a NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released on Sunday said that they thought parents should be required to vaccinate their children, while 3 percent said they were not sure.

"Let there be no doubt: not only are the risks of vaccination severely overblown, the benefits are just as underplayed", he said.

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