Record-high number of measles cases reported in 2014

the Clinical Advisor take:

With 59 confirmed cases of measles linked to an outbreak in Orange County, California, it seems as if resurgence of the disease could be on the horizon. Now, the CDC reports that in 2014, states reported a record-breaking number of new measles cases -- 644 cases across 27 states -- the highest number in almost a quarter-century, according to an article published in The Washington Post.

After reviewing the latest data available from the CDC, Washington Post writer Christopher Ingraham created this chart, visualizing the alarming growth of new measles cases reported to the agency.

While the majority of cases reported were linked to the ongoing outbreak in Orange County, the CDC reported that travelers from countries where measles is still common may be bringing the disease into the United States. The agency also reported that measles can spread when it reaches a community were groups of people are unvaccinated.

“The vast majority of people who contracted the disease were unvaccinated, including the dozens of cases related to an outbreak at Disneyland in Orange County, California,” noted Ingraham.

The United States was declared measles-free in 2000, although countries across Western Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa continue to see more widespread measles-related cases.

While the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) continues to investigate reported cases, agency officials urge providers -- and the public -- to vaccinate, stating “vaccination is the most important strategy to prevent measles,” in a CDPH press release. “Two doses of measles-containing vaccine (MMR vaccine) are more than 99% effective in preventing measles.”

Record-high number of measles cases reported in 2014
Record-high number of measles cases reported in 2014

If you want to quantify the alarming impact of the anti-vaccine movement, the chart above is a good place to start. It plots the cumulative number of new measles cases by month, for each year from 2001 to 2014.

There were 644 new measles cases in 27 states last year, according to the CDC. That's the biggest annual number we've seen in nearly a quarter-century. The vast majority of people who contracted the disease were unvaccinated, including the dozens of cases related to an outbreak at Disneyland in Orange County, California, which is basically Ground Zero in our current epidemic of anti-vaccine hysteria.

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