Measles Off to a Fast Start, as Cases Trend up - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Measles Off to a Fast Start, as Cases Trend up

Posted:
NEW YORK (AP)- Health officials are worried about recent U.S. measles outbreaks that so far have caused more illnesses than at the same point of any year since 1996.

Authorities say 129 cases in 13 states were reported by mid-April, the bulk of them in California and New York City. Most were triggered by travelers who caught the virus abroad and spread it in the United States among unvaccinated people. Many of the travelers had been to the Philippines, where a recent measles epidemic has caused at least 20,000 illnesses.

The U.S. numbers remain relatively tiny, but officials are worried to see case counts growing.

Since 2000, the highly contagious disease has been considered eliminated in the United States, aside from occasional small outbreaks sparked by overseas travelers. For most of the last decade, the nation was seeing only about 60 cases a year.

But since 2010, the average has been nearly 160.

"This increase in cases may be a 'new normal,' unfortunately," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Contributing to the problem: Decades of measles vaccination campaigns have been so successful that many doctors have never seen a case, don't realize how contagious it is, and may not take necessary steps to stop it from spreading.

Among the 58 cases reported from California, at least 11 were infected in doctor's offices, hospitals or other health-care settings, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York City health officials say two of their 26 cases were infected in medical facilities.

"It's a shock to younger physicians that their own waiting room or emergency room is where people can get measles," said the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat.

Also on Thursday, a medical journal - the Annals of Internal Medicine - released a commentary warning doctors to prevent that kind of situation.

"We must ensure that our facilities do not become centers for secondary measles transmission," wrote Dr. Julia Shaklee Sammons, an infectious disease specialist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

She urged doctors who suspect a measles case to place the patient in an isolation room with special ventilation that keeps the air from circulating around the building. Doctors and nurses should also wear surgical masks or respirators to protect themselves from getting infected, and to ask the infected patient to wear a surgical mask too.

The measles virus spreads easily through the air, and in closed rooms. Infected droplets can linger for up to two hours after the sick person leaves.

It causes a fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. In rare cases, measles can be deadly, and is particularly dangerous for children. Infection can also cause pregnant women to have a miscarriage or premature birth.

Before a vaccine became available about 50 years ago, nearly all children got measles by their 15th birthday. In those days, nearly 500 Americans died from measles each year.

A bad resurgence of measles hit the nation in 1989 to 1991, when 55,000 cases were reported. That flood of cases was blamed on a widespread failure to vaccinate uninsured children.

In reaction, the federal government started a program in 1994 to pay for vaccines for kids who are uninsured, in the Medicaid program, or meet other criteria.

In a report released Thursday, CDC officials estimated that the program and other childhood vaccination efforts will prevent 322 million illnesses and 732,000 premature deaths over the course of the lifetimes of children born in the years 1994 through 2013.

Wrapped into that estimate are 71 million measles cases, nearly 9 million measles hospitalizations and 57,000 measles deaths.

There has been no measles deaths reported in the U.S. since 2003. "But the way we're going, we feel it (another) is inevitable," Schuchat said.

Today, the measles vaccination rate is above 95 percent for children of kindergarten age. But there has been a small but growing trend of parents seeking exemptions for their children from school-entry vaccination requirements for religious or philosophical reasons. Other parents have tried to space out, or delay, measles vaccinations because of fears that the shot will trigger autism or other problems.

Measles outbreaks are more common in communities where such beliefs are more common, experts say. "It's often concentrated there. Folks who think similarly tend to live in the same neighborhood or attend the same religious organization," Schaffner said.

The CDC national tally may already be outdated. Also on Thursday, Ohio officials announced a new cluster of 13 suspected cases in rural Knox County. At least three traveled to the Philippines last month on a religious humanitarian mission.

About 17 percent of U.S. cases this year were vaccinated. Health officials say that although the vaccine is very effective, it's not perfect.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Riverside Boat Ramp Construction Delayed in Salisbury

    Riverside Boat Ramp Construction Delayed in Salisbury

    Feb 21, 2018 11:09 AM2018-02-21 16:09:00 GMT
    Wednesday, February 21 2018 11:22 AM EST2018-02-21 16:22:12 GMT
    (Photo: WBOC)(Photo: WBOC)
    Construction of a new Riverside Boat Ramp in Salisbury has been delayed. Work to rebuild the new east-side boat ramp was set be complete by April 1. However, work is now set to begin mid-spring.More
    Construction of a new Riverside Boat Ramp in Salisbury, Maryland has been delayed. Work to rebuild the new east-side boat ramp was set be complete by April 1. However, work is now set to begin mid-spring.More
  • Union Urges Delaware Teachers' Union to Join Gun Protests

    Union Urges Delaware Teachers' Union to Join Gun Protests

    Feb 21, 2018 10:00 AM2018-02-21 15:00:00 GMT
    Wednesday, February 21 2018 10:00 AM EST2018-02-21 15:00:08 GMT
    Protestors join in on a grassroots movement during a rally against gun violence in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in the wake of last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)Protestors join in on a grassroots movement during a rally against gun violence in downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, in the wake of last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
    Delaware's largest educators union has urged teachers and school staff to participate in three upcoming protests against gun violence.More
    Delaware's largest educators union has urged teachers and school staff to participate in three upcoming protests against gun violence.
    More
  • Evangelist Billy Graham, Who Reached Millions, Dies at 99

    Evangelist Billy Graham Dies at Age 99; Reached Millions

    Feb 21, 2018 8:29 AM2018-02-21 13:29:00 GMT
    Wednesday, February 21 2018 9:45 AM EST2018-02-21 14:45:55 GMT
    The Rev. Billy Graham The Rev. Billy Graham
    The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. He was 99.More
    The Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counselor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. He was 99.

    More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • New Waterfront Hotel Breaks Ground in O.C., Part 2

    New Waterfront Hotel Breaks Ground in O.C., Part 2

    The location of a new waterfront hotel that recently broke ground in Ocean City is raising some eyebrows with neighbors in the downtown area.

    The Cambria Hotel is being built in the vacant lot that sits just north of the Route 50 drawbridge, meaning it will be one of the first things drivers see headed into town.

    Brian Plimack, who lives just behind the development, said the hotel is too much of a drastic change to the town's skyline.

    More

    The location of a new waterfront hotel that recently broke ground in Ocean City is raising some eyebrows with neighbors in the downtown area.

    The Cambria Hotel is being built in the vacant lot that sits just north of the Route 50 drawbridge, meaning it will be one of the first things drivers see headed into town.

    Brian Plimack, who lives just behind the development, said the hotel is too much of a drastic change to the town's skyline.

    More
  • Dover Police Announce Death of Officer

    Dover Police Announce Death of Officer

    The Dover Police Department says one of their own passed away yesterday. Corporal Thomas Hannon's death was a result of medical complications brought on after sustaining a leg injury in the line of duty in 2012.

    More

    The Dover Police Department says one of their own passed away yesterday. Corporal Thomas Hannon's death was a result of medical complications brought on after sustaining a leg injury in the line of duty in 2012.

    More
  • Suspect in DSP Trooper Killing Dead; Barricade Situation Over

    Suspect in DSP Trooper Killing Dead; Barricade Situation Over

    A barricade situation involving a suspect in the shooting death of a Delaware State Police trooper is dead and the standoff is over.

    According to Master Corporal Jeffrey Hale with the Delaware State Police, the male suspect exited the home in Middletown, Del. around 9:17am and engaged police. The suspect was then shot by police and was pronounced dead at the scene just before 9:30am Thursday, Hale said.

    More

    A barricade situation involving a suspect in the shooting death of a Delaware State Police trooper is dead and the standoff is over.

    According to Master Corporal Jeffrey Hale with the Delaware State Police, the male suspect exited the home in Middletown, Del. around 9:17am and engaged police. The suspect was then shot by police and was pronounced dead at the scene just before 9:30am Thursday, Hale said.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices