US Sees Second-Highest Number of Measles Cases in Nearly 2 Decades


Has the measles made a comeback in recent years?

So far this year, the U.S. has seen the second-highest number of cases – 387 nationwide – since the highly infectious respiratory virus was eradicated in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The highest number of cases was in 2014 with 667 cases.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed seven cases this year, including one in Cook County that was confirmed last week.

Elsewhere, the outbreaks are worse. The 157 confirmed cases in Rockland County, New York, have prompted public officials there to declare a state of emergency that bars unvaccinated children and teenagers from public places.

Dr. Allison Arwady, chief medical officer at the Chicago Department of Public Health, says there are several reasons why the number of cases varies from year to year. Unvaccinated travelers, for example, may visit areas where there’s been a measles outbreak, Arwady said, and “there are people who decide not to vaccinate their children – and that is a concern.”

“If you are not immune to measles and you’re near someone who has infectious measles, there’s about a 90-percent chance you’ll get it,” she said.


Related stories:

Measles Exposure Reported in Cook County

4 in 10 Chicago Parents Don’t Have Paid Leave, Survey Finds

Report: Illinois Just ‘Getting Started’ in Addressing Children’s Needs

Health Officials Warning Residents About Unproven Stem Cell Therapies


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