HealthDay News — In just the first month of 2015, a total of 84 cases of measles have been reported in 14 states, already surpassing the number of cases the United States reports in a year, according to CDC officials.
That’s more in one month than the average 60 measles cases each year that the United States saw between 2001 and 2010, said Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, who is also Assistant Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service in a press briefing.
January’s numbers have been driven largely by the multi-state measles outbreak that originated in two Disney theme parks in California in December, reported Schuchat. 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% 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% of the people close to that person who aren’t immune will also become infected.”