Measles Outbreak 2019 Now In Record High Around US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its latest report on the ongoing measles outbreak in the U.S., highlighting the number of cases across the country that now reached a 25-year high. More than 700 people have been infected by measles this year in 22 states. 

The CDC warned that measles has been affecting mostly unvaccinated children. In the past week, the agency added 78 new cases to its list. No deaths were reported as as result of the outbreak.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that parents can actually help avoid the spread of the disease. He cited that many parents still leave their children unvaccinated due to false claims, like the side effects of vaccines, the BBC reported Monday

"The suffering we are seeing today is completely avoidable," Azar said. "We know vaccines are safe because they're among some of the most studied medical products we have."

The latest CDC report indicated that 695 cases detected in the U.S. in 2019 marked the highest number of reported measles infections since the disease was declared eliminated across the country in 2000.

Measles Outbreak: The Numbers and Outbreak Zones

The agency said 40 people brought measles to the U.S. after their trips to Ukraine, Israel and the Philippines, where the disease is prevalent. Most of the patients come from outbreak zones, including New York City.

Currently affected areas are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.

Up to 10 percent of the patients are adults. However, health officials said some adults may need additional booster vaccines as most of the current patients had measles-mumps-rubella vaccine before infection.

Adults traveling to outbreak zones or those who received vaccines before 1968 are advised to get another vaccination to avoid further risks. 

Federal officials associated the current measles outbreak in the U.S. to the increasing number of citizens and foreign tourists traveling to and from countries where measles are more common.