US measles cases top 1,000 as officials urge vaccinations

US measles cases top 1,000 as officials urge vaccinations
© Getty Images

The number of measles cases in the U.S. has topped 1,000 as public officials continue to plead with parents to vaccinate their children.

“The 1,000th case of a preventable disease like measles is a troubling reminder of how important that work is to the public health of the nation,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement late Wednesday.

“We cannot say this enough: Vaccines are a safe and highly effective public health tool that can prevent this disease and end the current outbreak. The measles vaccine is among the most-studied medical products we have and is given safely to millions of children and adults each year,” Azar said.

ADVERTISEMENT
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 1,001 reported measles cases across the country as of June 5.

Last week, the CDC said measles cases through the first five months of this year were the highest in 27 years, and warned the country was at risk of losing its measles elimination status.

Measles was declared eliminated in 2000, but this year’s outbreaks have been worsened by anti-vaccine advocates that spread misinformation among vulnerable groups.

Most of the measles cases are concentrated in New York, where two outbreaks have been raging in Rockland County as well as in Brooklyn and Queens. Most of these cases have involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alongside others across HHS, will continue our efforts to support local health departments and healthcare providers in responding to this situation, with the ultimate goal of stopping the outbreak and the spread of misinformation about vaccines, and increasing the public’s confidence in vaccines to help all Americans live healthier lives, safe from vaccine-preventable diseases,” Azar said.