Health officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday, April 24 that the measles cases across the U.S. have reached a number of 695 this week, which makes it officially the highest number of cases since 2000 when the disease was cleared out.
CDC director Robert Redfield said in a statement that the ongoing outbreak is alarming, and called the health care providers to convince their patients about the safety and effectiveness of the measles vaccine.
Health authorities associated the high number of cases in 2019 to wider outbreaks in Washington and New York that began late in the year 2018. Cases of measles have been identified in 22 states but none in Louisiana for the time being.
There were only two cases reported in the state last year, and both cases concerned patients who took the virus while traveling abroad before coming to New Orleans. The CDC said that the ongoing outbreaks were also connected to people traveling to countries where measles is widely spread and bring the virus back to the U.S. subjecting people to it. The officials also said that when the virus is brought in to a community where people are vaccinated, outbreaks either don’t happen or are for the most part small.
Health authorities in Louisiana reportedly said that the state has a 1% vaccine exemption rate amidst kindergarteners, which is to some extent low when compared to other regions of the country. Approximately around 0.1 percent Louisiana parents prefer their child not to take the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine because of medical reasons, and the rest of the parents choose not to vaccinate their children due to their personal beliefs.
Health officials accentuate that the best way to keep away, be protected against and avoid measles is to get the MMR vaccine, which is apparently around 97 percent effective against the measles virus.