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US Reports Over 700 Measles Cases in 2019


FILE - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference declaring a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn in response to a measles outbreak, April 9, 2019.

The U.S. reported a total of 704 cases of measles so far in 2019 - the greatest number since 1994.

Seventy-eight new cases were reported last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Monday. Though no deaths have been reported, 66 people were hospitalized.

A poster released by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is seen as experts answer questions regarding the measles response and the quarantine orders in Los Angeles, April 26, 2019
A poster released by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is seen as experts answer questions regarding the measles response and the quarantine orders in Los Angeles, April 26, 2019

Thirteen specific outbreaks have been identified by the CDC, and of those six were associated with "underimmunized close-knit communities", which accounted for 88% of all cases, according to Monday's CDC report.

One such example is the outbreak in New York, which has been traced to Orthodox Jews who contracted the disease while traveling overseas. Cases have been reported in 22 states.

The CDC recommends vaccinations for everyone over a year old, except those who contracted measles as children and have since become immune.

The vaccine, which first became available in the 1960s, is considered safe and effective by most public health experts. Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease was considered eradicated from the United States in 2000.

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