The number of reported measles cases in the United States has reached its highest level in nearly 20 years, federal health officials said Wednesday.
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695 cases of measles were reported in 22 states On Wednesday afternoon, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the highest eradication of the disease in 2000 was local.
The CDC attributed the "high number of cases" to major outbreaks in the state of Washington and New York that began late last year.
"The largest and longest since the eradication of measles in 2000," CDC said in a statement. "The longer these outbreaks persist, the greater the chance of having measles in the United States The World Health Organization (WHO) found that the number of measles worldwide had risen by 300% at the beginning of this month compared to the first three months of 2018.
Health and Social Affairs Minister Alex Azar said immunization is the only way to protect the country.
19659009] "Measles are not harmless teething troubles, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease," said Azar late Wednesday. "We have the ability to safely protect our children and communities, and vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease."
"All Americans would be safer and healthier if we were to get the recommended measles vaccines schedule," Azar added.
Measles are highly contagious and can be transmitted by coughing or sneezing through the air.
The peak in cases is partly due to the dissemination of misinformation about vaccines on the Internet. Anti-vaccine activists have prevailed in social media by making the wrong claim that vaccinations are linked to autism.
The measles vaccine now being co-administered with the mumps and rubella vaccine is considered safe and highly effective by public health physicians. The CDC recommends that all Americans over the age of 1 be vaccinated.
"Combating these measles outbreaks is a priority for CDC, and we work around the clock to protect Americans from this contagious disease, and vaccinations are the best way to protect against measles," the CDC said. "Today, the vast majority of parents choose to vaccinate their children, and we've had high and stable immunization coverage in the US for several years."