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In 2011, U.S. logged the most measles cases its had in 15 years


Los Angeles Times
By Thomas Maugh II

The United States logged 222 measles cases last year, well above the median of 60 cases a year that has been the norm during the last decade and the most cases since the 508 cases that occurred in 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Most of the new cases were clustered in 17 outbreaks, about four times the normal number. All were the result of imported virus, either by U.S. citizens returning from vacations or by foreign visitors. About half of the cases originated in Western Europe.

The U.S. achieved measles elimination in 2000 as a result of widespread vaccination with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Elimination means that there were was no year-round endemic transmission of the virus. Nonetheless, cases occur because travelers can bring the virus into the country; the disease is still widespread outside North America. Worldwide, about 20 million people contract measles each year and an estimated 164,000 die from it. Most of those cases occur in developing countries, but the industrialized world is not exempt. Last year there were 37,000 measles cases reported in Europe, primarily in France, Italy and Spain. Susceptible people traveling to those countries thus have a distinct risk of contracting the disease.

To read the full article, go to http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-measles-outbreak-20120419,0,2060513.story

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