Americans can finally breathe a sigh of relief in regards to measles.
Federal and state officials are confident that the US’s measles-free status will remain in place in spite of two cases being reported last week in New York. It has been a challenge in controlling the spread of the measles and it should not be here any longer
According to Reuters a report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), did not document the two new cases as being connected to the outbreak in Rockland County, New York that had been on going since October 1 of last year. This is a very important detail because a country’s measles-free status is determined by the World Health Organization and that status can be revoked if the same measles strain that was brought from another country circulated within a population for a period of 12 months. Rockland County officials declared the outbreak to be over after 42-days of no cases since August 13, 2019
The two new cases are related to travelers from Israel and and is a different chain of transmission completely unrelated to the earlier outbreak.
The federal government’s Health and Human Services (HHS) released its statement today as well, confirming that the measles outbreak in new York which had begun in October 2018 has finally come to an end.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar, said the agency is pleased that the measles outbreak has ended in New York state and measles is still considered to be eliminated in the US.
The CDC published a full report today, laying out the total devastation that the measles outbreak took on the US.
There have been 1,249 confirmed cases reported of measles from January 1, 2019 to Tuesday, October 1. This amount of measles cases is the highest yearly count since 1992 – over 27 years. Usually measles is not a dangerous disease, but this year 10% of the people who came down with it were hospitalized and one case ended up with encephalitis, a serious brain infection. Due to massive vaccination campaigns it has taken a toll financially as millions of dollars have been spent to control the outbreaks from spreading further.
Overall, the measles vaccination rate is pretty high in the US but there are several places in the country where it’s far below the herd community threshold. In those areas it has been found there is an undercurrent of fear and suspicions of vaccinations due to the anti-vax movement over the past several years.