Thomas Kienzle/AP

Measles Outbreak Spreads to 15 States

July 11, 2008 05:04 AM
by Josh Katz
Federal health officials have announced that the current measles outbreak is the largest in 10 years.

30-Second Summary

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 127 people have contracted the virus, and the outbreak, which began in May, now spans 15 states.

The current outbreak stems from people traveling to the U.S. from abroad. Ten countries—Switzerland, Israel, Belgium, Italy, India, Germany, China, Pakistan, Russia and the Philippines—are involved in the scare.

Officials have also associated the spread of measles with parents who choose not to immunize their children because they fear the vaccinations may result in autism or other complications. Thanks to vaccines, transmission of the virus had been stamped out in the U.S. by 2000.

Although the disease could be deadly, no one in the United States has died as a result of the latest outbreak.

In 1996, measles sickened 508 people, and 138 more fell ill in 1997. Before that, the last major outbreak in the U.S. occurred from 1989 to 1991, “when 55,000 people got measles and 123 died,” according to Reuters.

The CDC cites “Rash, high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes” as symptoms of measles.

Headline Link: Measles outbreak spreads

Background: Nonvaccination linked to resurgence of childhood illnesses

Opinion & Analysis: To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate

Reference: Measles


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