Measles are back again in the United States and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says this time it has increased at a startling rate.
The disease has disappeared in the U.S. due to the huge awareness about the vaccines among the people but the CDC report shows it has hit a 19-year high.
According to the CDC, the U.S. has witnessed 13 outbreaks and 130 cases till mid-April in 2014. California and New York City are the worst hit.
The CDC suspects the virus that is leading to measles is mainly triggered by the affected travelers who are spreading it in the United States among unvaccinated people. Many Americans have visited Philippines in the recent past where a measles epidemic has caused at least 20,000 illnesses.
The CDC is worried about the growing cases of measles.
If few occasional small outbreaks are kept aside, this highly contagious disease has been considered eliminated in the United States since 2000. The average has been nearly 160 since 2010.
“This increase in cases may be a `new normal,’ unfortunately,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of about 60 people in the United States contract measles every year. These people are mostly exposed to the disease in other countries who then travel here.
“I would strongly encourage all parents to get their children vaccinated and avoid the alternative. … You don’t know how bad this disease can be until you see it front and center.” said Dr. Mark Pasternack, chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Meanwhile, the medical providers are on task to vaccinate the Americans against measles. Besides health officials are also recommending those who feels that they may have been exposed to the virus and are experiencing symptoms of measles.
Health officials have asked all those who have been experiencing any symptoms of measles to refer to their doctors. Doctors say, symptoms of the measles appear 10 days to two weeks after exposure. The initial symptoms include cold, fever, cough, runny nose, and red eyes. After two to four days of these initial symptoms, a rash may appear for a few days and then disappear. Measles are considered to be contagious up to four days before and after the rash appears. They spread more easily than almost any other disease as they communicate mainly through airborne transmission such as breathing, coughing, and sneezing.
People who may be at risk of contracting the disease includes: Infants and young children who have not received their first dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age.
School-age children who have not received their second dose of the MMR vaccine.
Adults who have not received at least one dose of the MMR vaccine.