U.S. measles cases surpass 1,000

Measles outbreak officially over in Oakland County, health officials say

In its latest update, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 971 measles cases have been confirmed across 26 states between January 1 and May 31 of this year.

Azar also said the agency has been stressing on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, "amid concerning signs that there are pockets of undervaccination around the country".

The number of measles cases in the United States surpassed 1,000 Wednesday, a milestone Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called "troubling".

It said in the decade before 1963 when a vaccine became available, roughly 3-4 million people contracted the virus annually in the US, resulting in between 400 to 500 deaths each year and 48,000 hospitalizations.

So far this year, the CDC has counted 1,001 cases, with many occurring among New York City's Orthodox Jewish community, the Associated Press reported. That 971 number represents the highest level of confirmed cases in the USA since 1992, and the most since the disease was declared eliminated almost 20 years ago.

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Measles is one of the most highly contagious diseases in existence, spreading through coughing and sneezing, and can linger in the air for up to two hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were giving health care providers guidelines for recognizing and preventing measles, and developing a toolkit for physicians to counter misinformation, Azar said.

Once a person has measles, about 90% of close contacts who are susceptible to it will develop the disease. A rash that is red, raised, blotchy usually starts on face, spreads to trunk, arms, and legs 3-5 days after symptoms begin.

The disease has mostly affected children who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which confers immunity to the three infectious diseases. "I encourage all Americans to talk to your doctor about what vaccines are recommended to protect you, your family, and your community from measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases".

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