Number of Measles Cases in Mid-March Exceeds Total for Previous Year

Measles resurgence: A concerning decline in vaccination rates puts millions at risk

A resurgence of measles, a once-eliminated disease in the United States, has resulted in at least 64 recorded cases nationwide by late last week. This number is significantly higher than the total of 58 cases reported for all of last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jesse Ehrenfeld, president of the American Medical Association, expressed concern over the declining rate of vaccinations against measles in the U.S. since 2019. This decline puts more people at risk of illness, disability, and death from the disease.

Measles is a highly contagious virus that can spread easily through coughing, sneezing or talking. It is typically located in the nose or throat and causes symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and watery eyes followed by a red rash that covers the body. Complications from measles include dehydration, ear infections, croup and pneumonia.

In the United States, individuals are usually vaccinated against measles in early childhood with two doses of the MMR vaccine which provides lifetime protection. However, Ehrenfeld highlighted that approximately 250,000 kindergartners are at risk of measles infection due to lower vaccination rates in the 2022-2023 school year. This regression could potentially erase the progress made in eliminating measles as a vaccine-preventable disease

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