After 19 Years, US Risks Losing Measles Elimination Status

Measles was declared eliminated from the US in 2000.

KUALA LUMPUR, August 29 — The United States (US) may lose its elimination status for measles by October as the number of cases, especially in New York, continues to increase.

Huffington Post reported figures by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that 1,215 measles cases have been confirmed in 30 states so far this year, three times more than the total number of cases in 2018. The latest figure followed an increase of a dozen new cases from the previous week.

There must be no continuous transmission of a disease for more than 12 months for it to be declared eliminated. The current measles outbreak reportedly began in New York on September 30 last year.

“If transmission continues in New York City or New York State, elimination status for measles in the United States will end if there is any measles case connected to those outbreaks on or after October 1 or 2, respectively,” Benjamin Haynes, acting team lead of the CDC’s Infectious Disease Media Team, told Huffington Post.

More than 75 per cent of measles cases this year were reportedly linked to outbreaks in New York state and New York City.

“Measles is more likely to spread and cause outbreaks in U.S. communities where groups of people are unvaccinated,” Haynes was quoted saying.

Measles was declared eliminated from the US in 2000, which the CDC attributed to a highly effective vaccination programme in the US and better measles control in the Americas region.

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