CDC: Measles Cases in January Top Typical Load for Entire Year

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CDC: Measles Cases in January Top Typical Load for Entire Year
CDC: Measles Cases in January Top Typical Load for Entire Year

(HealthDay News) -- The United States has seen more cases of measles in January than it usually does in an entire year, federal health officials said Thursday.

A total of 84 cases in 14 states were reported between Jan. 1 and Jan. 28, Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during an afternoon news conference. That's more in one month than the average 60 measles cases each year that the United States saw between 2001 and 2010, said Schuchat, who is also Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service.

January's numbers have been driven largely by the multi-state measles outbreak that originated in two Disney theme parks in California in December, Schuchat said. There have been 67 cases of Disney-related measles reported since late December, occurring in California and six other states. Of those, 56 are included in the January count. About 15 percent of those infected have been hospitalized, she added.

"The majority of the adults and children who are reported to us for whom we have information did not get vaccinated, or don't know whether they have been vaccinated," Schuchat said. "This is not a problem of the measles vaccine not working. This is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used." Measles is incredibly infectious, even more so than Ebola, officials explained. "It's so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who aren't immune will also become infected."

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