U.S. records 25 new measles cases as outbreak spread to Ohio, Alaska

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FILE PHOTO: Materials are seen left at demonstration by people opposed to childhood vaccination after officials in Rockland County, a New York City suburb, banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces, in West Nyack, New York, U.S. March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

(Reuters) – The United States recorded 25 new measles cases last week, bringing the total number of cases in the year to 1,148 as the country recorded its worst outbreak of the disease since 1992, federal health officials said on Monday.

The 2.2% weekly increase in the number of cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease also included Ohio and Alaska, bringing the total to 30 states as of July 18, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

It was the first time since June 10 that the disease spread to additional states.

The total number of cases, the country’s highest total since 2,126 were recorded in 1992, includes both active cases and those that have since resolved. No fatalities have been reported.

The disease has mostly affected children who have not received the vaccine.

Federal health officials attribute this year’s outbreak to U.S. parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, with many believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in the measles vaccine can cause autism.

The disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there was no continuous transmission of the disease for a year. Still, cases of the virus occur and spread via travelers coming from countries where measles is common.

CDC officials have warned the country risks losing its measles elimination status if the outbreak, which began in October 2018 in New York, continues until October 2019.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Bill Trott)

 

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