Why Are Measles Outbreaks Getting Worse?

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A microscopic view of Rubella. Rubella is an acute, contagious viral infection.

Despite the high level of success with vaccines designed to prevent it, measles is seeing a recurrence in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of April 18, 129 people have been diagnosed with measles in outbreaks in 13 states this year. The majority of these people were not vaccinated, the CDC says.

Although these outbreaks start outside the country, measles infection spreads rapidly among unvaccinated people, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said during an early afternoon press briefing.

“Measles is still far too common in many parts of the world,” he said. “Globally, an estimated 20 million people get measles and 122,000 die from the disease each year.”

The report was published in the April 25 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who also spoke at the news conference, said, “Measles has gotten off to an early and active start this year.”

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