recommended reading

The Number of Measles Cases This Year Is Already Troubling -- and It's Only April

A nurse prepares vaccine shots against measles at a clinic in Beijing, China.

A nurse prepares vaccine shots against measles at a clinic in Beijing, China. // Alexander F. Yuan/AP File Photo

In the decade after measles was largely eradicated in the United States in 2000, the number of reported cases of the highly contagious disease hovered around 60 each year.

But since 2010, the annual number has shot up to 155, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in just the first three months of 2014, 106 cases have been reported across the country. Health officials are worried.

CDC issued a travel warning last month after several unvaccinated children returned to the states with measles infections from the Philippines, where the disease is still relatively common. Among physicians, some pediatric infectious-disease specialists have begun pleading with the American public to vaccinate their children.

Measles is an airborne viral infection that affects the skin and respiratory and immune systems, starting with a rash and high fever. It can be prevented with a blanket vaccination that also protects against mumps and rubella. Before widespread vaccination efforts took root in 2000, the U.S. saw about 500,000 measles cases each year, which led to 48,000 hospitalizations and 500 deaths.

Right now, two outbreaks are slowly spreading on opposite sides of the country. In New York City, thenumber of reported cases in an outbreak that began in February rose to 26 last week. In California, 49 measles cases have been reported this year, compared with four at this time last year.

Most current measles cases have been linked to foreign sources, such as the Philippines. But the rate of U.S. parents choosing not to vaccinate their children has increased in recent years, resulting in a higher incidence of the illness. More than 90 percent of young children are vaccinated against measles in the U.S., but laws requiring immunization for schoolchildren vary by state.

California is one of 19 states that allows parents to opt out of immunizations for young schoolchildren on the basis of personal beliefs. In these states, the rate of unvaccinated children is higher. And when unvaccinated children are clustered in one region, the risk of an outbreak from an imported infection is higher. New York does not allow such an exemption.

A considerable chunk of American physicians, especially young ones, have not seen measles because of its virtual elimination 14 years ago. But as the number of reported cases continues to climb, that will likely change. And it's only April.

For more information about measles and its prevention, visit cdc.gov/measles.

Threatwatch Alert

Stolen laptop

Wireless Heart Monitor Maker to Pay $2.5M Settlement to HHS After Laptop Stolen

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.