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article imageCDC reports measles cases have tripled over yearly average

By Karen Graham     Dec 6, 2013 in Health
In the United States, vaccination programs have all but eliminated measles. But before a vaccine became available, almost everyone came down with the disease, and over 450 people died annually between 1953 and 1963, usually from complications.
Measles was declared to be all but eliminated in the U.S. about 20 years ago. Cases since that time have been attributed to an unvaccinated person traveling outside the country and bringing the disease back, or visitors infected with the virus "importing" it into the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report Dec. 5 saying a sharp increase in measles cases in 2013 has given health officials reason to be concerned. A total of 175 cases of the viral disease have been confirmed so far this year, occurring in nine different outbreaks across the nation. This is a big jump from an average 60 cases annually,
In 98 percent of the cases, the victims had not been vaccinated against measles. Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC says, "This is isn't the failure of a vaccine; it's the failure to vaccinate." The prevalence of the disease overseas is putting people in this country at risk, and this is borne out by the cases being seen this year, with almost every one being traced back to someone who had traveled overseas.
Earlier this year, a measles outbreak involving members of a Texas mega-church who's leader is an anti-vaccine proponent left 22 people sick. To read more about the outbreak, read the Digital Journal story at: In March of this year, 58 cases of measles were reported in Brooklyn, N.Y., tied to a Jewish neighborhood that either refused to be vaccinated, or delayed getting vaccinated.
Health officials remind people that measles can kill. It has been 50 years since a vaccine for the disease was created, and people tend to forget how serious an illness it can be. When measles was widespread in this country, between 450 and 500 individuals died, while an additional 48,000 were hospitalized. Another 7,000 had seizures and around 1,000 experienced permanent brain damage or deafness.
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