2013 is on Track to Become the Worst Measles Year Since 1996
According to the CDC’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 159 measles cases were reported from 16 states from January 1 through August 24, 2013.
Among the 159 reported cases:
- 58 patients (36%) were aged 5–19 years old
- 17 required hospitalization, including four patients diagnosed with pneumonia
- 157 (99%) were import-associated; 42 importations from 18 countries reported
Most cases were identified in patients who were unvaccinated (131 patients) or had unknown vaccination status (15 patients). Thirteen (8%) of the patients had been vaccinated, of whom three had received 2 doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Eight outbreaks have accounted for 77% of the cases, with the largest outbreak in New York City since 1996. None of these patients had documentation of vaccination at the time of exposure. The second largest outbreak was in North Carolina that occurred mostly among patients not vaccinated because of personal belief exemptions. As of August 24th, an ongoing outbreak in Texas has 20 confirmed cases among members of a church community.
Measles due to a highly contagious virus that can lead to complications and death. The common symptoms are fever and a rash. Measles elimination was declared in the U.S. in 2000 but measles cases continued to occur from patients moving into the U.S. From 2001–2012, the average number of measles cases reported in the U.S. each year was 60 (range 37–220 cases) with four reported outbreaks. Since measles elimination, the highest numbers of U.S. cases were in 2008 with 140 cases and 220 cases in 2011. If measles cases continue to grow at the current rate, the number of cases will likely surpass that of 1996.
These outbreaks show that unvaccinated patients place themselves and their communities at risk for measles and that high vaccination coverage is important to prevent the spread of measles.
At Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana, our goal is to keep our patients healthy and happy. Immunizations are an excellent way to help prevent contacting measles and other serious infectious diseases.
This information is solely for informational purposes and not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional.