At the time of writing, 695 confirmed measles cases have been recorded in 22 states in the US. This is the highest number since the infection was declared eradicated in the year 2000, says the officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on April 24, 2019. The largest outbreak is documented in New York with 390 cases since October 2018.
According to the federal health officials, the outbreaks originated in Jewish Orthodox communities in New York City and Washington state. They blamed the resurgence and spread on “organizations that are deliberately targeting these communities with inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines,” These organizations spread information claiming that measles, mumps, ad rubella (MMR) vaccines cause autism.
The NYC Health Department took several steps to contain the outbreak. On April 9, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot declared public health emergency and ordered everyone in Williamsburg and all unvaccinated individuals in the city to get vaccinated. A fine up to $1000 will be imposed on anyone who would defy the government’s orders.
Previously, the highest recorded measles cases in the US was 667 in 2014. Globally, measles cases are also on the rise according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The organization tracked a 300% rise in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. The US and Israel, along with other countries with high vaccination coverage saw dramatic increase of measles cases. Countries currently facing outbreaks are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand, and Ukraine.