America is facing the worst measles outbreak in over 25 years this week as confirmed cases continue to rise.
In 2000, public health officials declared the disease eliminated. But as of Thursday, the current measles outbreak had sickened 555 people across 20 states. That’s a 20 percent increase in confirmed cases in just one week.
The CDC today reported at least 555 confirmed measles cases in 20 states, a 20% increase in just a week. One nurse is on the front lines trying to convince parents to ignore the anti-vaccine myths on social media, which she once believed herself. https://nbcnews.to/2GmfcCG
Lester Holt reports.
Posted by NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt on Monday, April 15, 2019
In Washington, there have been 74 confirmed measles cases, where as New York City is seeing the worst of it with 329 confirmed cases since October. According to the city’s health department, the outbreak is expected to worsen over the next 3 to 5 weeks.
That’s because it can take up to 21 days for measles symptoms to present themselves after a person is exposed to the virus.
The measles virus is reportedly one of the most infectious diseases known to man. A person with measles can cough in a room and leave. Then hours later, if you’re unvaccinated, you could catch the virus from the droplets in the air that the infected person left behind. No other virus can do that.
Measles is fully preventable through two doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR). The highly contagious disease can be fatal to those who are unvaccinated, and can lead to swelling of the brain, pneumonia, permanent vision loss and severe dehydration.
Of the 329 confirmed New York measles cases, 284 are children and 45 are adults. There have been 25 hospitalizations and of the six people who have been taken to the intensive care unit, two remained and were in stable condition.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency last week in Brooklyn, where there have been 285 cases of measles since September. The order required all children and adults in the area to receive the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) unless they can prove a necessary medical exemption.
People who continue to refuse to get vaccinated could be guilty of misdemeanor violations and be fined.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of measles cases reported worldwide in the first three months of 2019 has quadrupled compared with the same time last year.
The UN says the disease is “entirely preventable” with the right vaccines, but global coverage of the first immunization stage has “stalled” at 85 percent, “still short of the 95 percent needed to prevent outbreaks.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 90 percent of people who are not immune will become infected if they are exposed to the virus.