Measles Cases in One Williamsburg Yeshiva in One Month

Dr. Robert Redfield Jr. director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

- Doctors around the country are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated in the wake of a major measles outbreak in Washington state.

Measles cases in Ireland increased by 244% between 2017 to 2018, according to UNICEF.

"Measles is more contagious than tuberculosis or Ebola, yet it is eminently preventable with a vaccine that costs pennies".

"What is particularly disconcerting, is that this is a public health problem for which science has already provided a solution: a safe and effective vaccine", said Chairman Frank Pallone, Democratic Representative for New Jersey.

However, Dr. Buchinsky said anyone born in the late 1950s through the 1960s might need another measles vaccination, even if they received one as a child. "With measles, because it is so contagious, you have to have a herd immunity greater than 90%", said Dr. Robert Murphy, professor and director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, who was not involved in Wednesday's hearing.

"These cases haven't happened overnight".

She added that a "lack of action today will have disastrous consequences for children tomorrow".

Ten countries, including Brazil, the Philippines and France, accounted for almost three-quarters of the total increase in measles cases in 2018, according to figures released by the UN's agency for children.

But the World Health Organization previous year said cases worldwide had soared almost 50 per cent in 2018, killing around 136,000 people.

Two of the nation's leading health experts, who expressed confusion at the growing numbers of people choosing not to vaccinate against measles, testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Measles vaccinations are available in most pharmacies in the USA. It spreads through the air when a person coughs or sneezes. Last year, there were 372 reported cases of measles nationwide. Among serious complications, 1 in 20 patients get pneumonia, and 1 in 1,000 get brain swelling that can lead to seizures, deafness or intellectual disability. "Two doses of measles vaccine are about 97 percent effective in preventing measles", said Dr. Christina Tan, state epidemiologist.

Since then the number had continued to grow as unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children and adults were exposed, the department said. The U.S. saw a six-fold increase in measles cases in 2018, according to UNICEF.

Vaccines have eradicated infectious diseases like smallpox, and reduced others such as polio and measles.

Officials say four new suspected measles cases have been identified in a measles outbreak in southwest Washington.

Measles is preventable with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. The WHO says there's been a 30 percent increase in measles cases in recent years.

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