Measles cases soar to second-highest level in 25 years

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Measles, which is highly contagious, can be entirely prevented through a two-dose vaccine, but the World Health Organization has in recent months sounded the alarm over declining global vaccination rates.

Ukraine, Madagascar and India have been worst affected by the disease, with tens of thousands of reported cases per million people. "Many countries are in the midst of sizable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases", the WHO said.

The number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by almost 20 percent in the week ended April 11, in the country's second-worst outbreak in almost two decades, federal health officials reported on Monday.

- US measles cases have surged again, and are on pace to set a record for most illnesses in 25 years. The highest number of reported cases since 2000 was 667 in 2014, according to the CDC.

The number of measles cases across the U.S. rose for the third week in a row, bringing the total to 555 - the highest number in the past five years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

The anti-vaccination movementPublic health officials say current measles outbreaks in the US are fueled by the anti-vaccination movement, which questions the safety of vaccines and frequently spreads false information on social media.

Measles cases rose 300 per cent worldwide through the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period previous year, the United Nations said on Monday (April 15), as concern grows over the impact of anti-vaccination stigma.

But rich countries with seemingly high vaccination rates are seeing cases spike too. But when an worldwide traveler exposed to measles overseas brings the disease into the country, pockets of unvaccinated communities within the US enable the disease to spread. The majority of those cases occurred among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities and were disseminated through travelers who caught the disease in Israel. His research was found to be based on fraudulent data, the study was retracted, and the doctor lost his medical license.

"The overwhelming scientific evidence over many years and decades indicate that the vaccine, particularly the measles vaccine is very safe", Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told CBSN AM earlier this year. "That's been proven. There is no association whatsoever between the measles vaccine and autism".

It is one of the most contagious viruses around, however, nothing about measles has changed.

Measles isn't just rising in the United States.

About 1 out of every 1,000 children who gets measles will develop encephalitis or swelling of the brain, according to the CDC. In 2000, health officials announced that they had rid the country of measles.

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