United States: The CDC made the observation in its latest report that the outbreak of measles is preventing the country from maintaining the status of elimination as indicated by the agency. 

In 1963, the first measles vaccine arrived and thanks to the hard work of the National Childhood Immunization Program, the measles virus had no ‘home’ as it was eliminated on US soil by 2000. 

Moreover, the US has been able to maintain its status of being the elimination country despite experiencing some sporadic breakouts. Instances are observed because of carriers coming into the state from foreign countries and communities that are not vaccinated or are under-vaccinated, ABC News reported. 

First quarter rapid rise of cases threatens US status – CDC 

The fast-rising cases of measles infection during the first quarter of 2024 “represents a renewed threat to the U.S. elimination status,” as the CDC report stated. 

Till April 4, 2024, about 113 cases of measles were reported in the US. As per the experts, the numbers reflect a 17-fold higher figure greater than the average number of cases reported during the same period from 2020 to 2023. 

According to ABC News reports, Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, said, “What was surprising about 2024 is that we’ve seen a significant increase,” and, “It’s an alarming number because it indicates a trend going in the wrong direction for us, a virus that we have successfully controlled, a virus that we successfully have an effective vaccine for.” 

“We’re seeing a rise that is unfortunate and actually preventable, and so this outbreak highlights the fact that we are not unfortunately done with measles,” he said. 

About this year’s measles outbreaks 

The total number of measles cases is heightened due to various localized outbreaks, such as the one at a children’s hospital and daycare center in Philadelphia, an elementary school in Florida, and a migrant center in Chicago.

US Struggles to Maintain Measles Elimination Status Amidst Outbreaks. Credit | Getty Images
US Struggles to Maintain Measles Elimination Status Amidst Outbreaks. Credit | Getty Images

The infection rate of measles is so severe that the infected person is likely to infect up to 90 percent of those close contacts who are not immune from infection. 

The director of the Vaccine Education Center and an attending physician in the division of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Paul Offit, stated that almost 100 percent of the people in the US who have experienced measles in past few years had either travelled to other country where measles is still present or where happen to be around someone who had treavelled outside US. 

He also pointed out that immigrants are not the reason for the outbreak of measles in the US. 

Offit added, “It’s getting worse; I think it’s fair to say that it is getting worse,” and, Look, according to [the CDC’s] definition. Because there haven’t been 12 consecutive months of measles transmission, we’re still considered to have eliminated measles … but we’re getting there.” 

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