CDC: Measles total swells to 121 in 17 states

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported 19 more measles cases, most of them part of a large outbreak linked to Disneyland in California, lifting the national total to 121.

The disease was eliminated from the United States in 2000, and the resurgence of cases over the past few years—fueled by low vaccination rates in some communities—has stoked concerns that the virus could become endemic again.

So far this year 17 states and Washington, DC, have reported cases, with most of them (85%) part of the theme-park outbreak, according to the CDC.

From Dec 28 through Feb 6, 114 people from 7 western states were infected in the ongoing Disney-related outbreak. Though most are from California, cases also have been reported from Arizona (7), Utah (3), Washington (2), Colorado (1), Nebraska (1), and Oregon (1).

Health officials in Illinois have said it's not clear if five measles cases detected in infants at the same Cook County daycare center are connected to the Disney-linked outbreak. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said a sixth measles case was found in a Cook County resident who got sick in late January.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in a Feb 6 statement said it received reports of four more cases, boosting its total to 103 cases since December.

In the wake of the outbreak and the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which should lower the cost of vaccines, the University of California system said on Feb 6 that it will require incoming students to be vaccinated against measles and a host of other diseases by 2017.

The school said the requirement will be phased in over 3 years but does not prevent individual campuses from setting immunization standards for students or adopting the plan more quickly.

In a Feb 6 statement, the University of California system said the plan has been in the works for a year but that the need is now more urgent, against the backdrop of the multistate measles outbreak and the rise in other vaccine-preventable diseases. Currently, the system requires students to be vaccinated against only hepatitis B, though some of its campuses have additional requirements.

In its update today of overall measles activity, the CDC said the majority of people who got sick were unvaccinated. With measles common in many parts of the world, travelers continue to bring the disease into the United States, where it can spread in undervaccinated pockets of the population.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a Feb 2 report that since Jan 1, new measles outbreaks have been reported in several schools in Berlin, Germany, and that elsewhere, large outbreaks are ongoing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kyrgyzstan, China, Sudan, and Papua New Guinea, as well as the United States.

See also:

Feb 9 CDC measles update

Feb 9 CDC measles outbreak map

Feb 6 IDPH statement

Feb 6 Cook County Department of Public Health measles update

Feb 6 CDPH measles update

Feb 6 University of California news story

Feb 2 ECDC communicable disease threat report

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