US will soon break record for measles cases in a year

US will soon break record for measles cases in a year
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The U.S. will soon break the record for the number of confirmed measles cases this year after health officials found dozens of new measles cases in the last week.

As of April 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified 626 cases of measles in 22 states across the country, an increase of 71 cases and two additional states in the past week.

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This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. in the last five years, and the second highest number since measles was eliminated in 2000. The worst year for measles since then was 2014, when there were 667 cases.

In the coming weeks, 2019 confirmed case numbers will likely surpass 2014 levels, the CDC said.

The states that have reported cases to the CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.

The outbreaks are linked to unvaccinated travelers returning to the U.S. from countries where large measles outbreaks are occurring, such as Israel and Ukraine.

Public health officials, especially in New York City, have said they expect a spike in the number of cases confirmed in the next week because people traveled and spent time with extended family during Easter and Passover.

“Because of measles’ long incubation period, we know this outbreak will get worse before it gets better,” New York Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said last week.

New York City is home to the largest measles outbreak in the country, and cases primarily centered among Orthodox Jews living in certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens. As of Thursday, there have been 359 confirmed cases of measles in those areas.

The outbreak has prompted New York City May Bill de BlasioBill de Blasio2020 Presidential Candidates Cooperate, or else: New York threatens fines to force people to help block immigration enforcement DNC raises qualifying thresholds for fifth presidential debate MORE (D) to order mandatory vaccinations for required people living in specific ZIP codes in Brooklyn. If people don't comply, they are subject to a $1,000 fine. 

The current outbreak has primarily afflicted unvaccinated people and has led states to try to rewrite their laws regarding religious and personal vaccine exemptions.

For example, the majority of cases in New York are children under 18 years of age, and 45 cases are adults. Most of these measles cases were unvaccinated or had only one dose of the vaccine.

The anti-vaccine movement has been spreading disinformation about vaccines among vulnerable populations like New York’s Orthodox community, which has led to high rates of vaccine refusal and overall hesitancy.