The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday that the agency was monitoring a measles outbreak that has so far seen 107 cases across 21 states this year, putting 2018 on track to be the worst years for a measles outbreak over the last decade.
There were 118 cases in 2017 and only 86 the year before that. Officials expect the number of infected this year to outpace previous years.
Measles is an airborne virus that can be spread by people who are infected through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, and red, watery eyes followed by a rash that starts on the face, until spreading across the rest of the body. Symptoms typically begin show around 10 to 14 days after exposure.
In 2015, a large, a large, multi-state measles outbreak was linked back to Disneyland in Anaheim. Officials say that outbreak likely started from a traveler who became infected while overseas and then visited the amusement park while still infectious. However, no source was ultimately identified in that outbreak. An analysis of the virus by the CDC showed the type of measles was identical to one linked to a large measles outbreak in the Philippines in 2014.
In 2014, the U.S. experienced a record number cases, with 667 infections reported to the CDC from 27 states. One of the largest outbreaks that year (383 cases) occurred primarily among unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio.
The CDC says the following states are being monitored for a measles outbreak:
Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, and Washington D.C.
Measles is still common in many parts of the world including countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa. People who travel overseas are urged to check their vaccinations and keep them up to date.
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