CDC: US on verge of losing measles elimination status

CDC: US on verge of losing measles elimination status
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week sounded the alarm that recent measles outbreaks have put the 2000 declaration of the disease having been eliminated at risk, according to a CNN report.

The ongoing outbreaks have created a “reasonable chance” the nation will lose measles elimination status in October, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told the network.

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"It certainly is incredibly frustrating and upsetting to the public health community that we may lose measles elimination status, because we do have a safe and effective vaccine," she told CNN.

For a country to have its elimination status rescinded, measles must have been spreading continuously for a year. Two outbreaks began in New York City and Rockland County, New York, in autumn 2018, with more than 900 cases between the two locations.

Numerous cases have been concentrated among the city and county’s Orthodox Jewish enclaves, many members of which have religious objections to vaccinations. The last year has seen other measles outbreaks in 29 other states, but none of them were as long-lasting.

The CDC will release a more detailed statement on the U.S.’s measles elimination status next week, Messonnier told CNN.

Twelve new cases of measles, the majority in New York, were announced this week alone, and children returning to school is likely to exacerbate the issue, Dr. William Schaffner, an adviser to the CDC and an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told CNN.

Losing the status could prove both a national embarrassment and a hindrance to U.S. attempts to reduce the spread of the disease around the world, Dr. Paul Spiegel, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins University, told CNN.

"If we are not able to take care of our own backyard, how can we tell others what to do?" he told the network.