Measles Cases Jump 20% in One Week

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"By the time you finish reading this, we estimate that at least 40 people - majority children - will be infected by this fast-moving, life-threatening disease", Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, wrote in an opinion piece Monday on CNN.

Also on Monday, the World Health Organization reported that globally there are four times as many measles cases so far this year as there were at the same time last year.

Over the previous year, the largest numbers have been in Ukraine, Madagascar and India, with each reporting more than 60,000 cases.

The 2019 tally is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported.

USA federal health officials said on Monday the number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by almost 20% in the week ended 11 April - the country's second-worst outbreak in almost two decades.

How measles outbreaks spread in the U.S.

. So far in 2019, there have been 555 measles cases across 20 states. It can take up to 21 days for measles symptoms to appear after a person is exposed to the virus.

Last week, New York City officials declared a public health emergency and ordered mandatory measles vaccinations to halt the outbreak concentrated among ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, putting in place the broadest vaccination order in the United States in almost three decades. Almost two-thirds of all cases have been in NY, and 85% of the latest week's cases came from the state. A state judge later blocked the order.

Experts say overall vaccination rates of 90 to 95 percent are needed to provide "herd immunity", which helps keep outbreaks at bay and protect babies who are too young to be vaccinated and others who can't get the vaccine for medical reasons.

In 2000, health officials announced that they had rid the country of measles. His research was found to be based on fraudulent data, the study was retracted, and the doctor lost his medical license.

Claims about health risks from vaccines are "based purely on fabrication", he continued.

Video: Despite the massive evidence, the anti-vaccination movement is gaining strength.

Almost a quarter of measles patients are hospitalised with complications that can lead to disabilities, brain damage, blindness and hearing loss.

Measles can cause serious long-term harm, to individuals and to the economy.

About 1 out of every 1,000 children who gets measles will develop encephalitis or swelling of the brain, according to the CDC.

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