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May 1, 2019

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IDSA Weighs in As Measles Cases Reach Record Breaking Numbers

The announcement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on April 24 that measles cases in the United States have reached numbers unseen since the disease was declared eliminated here in 2000 brings with it the real possibility that measles could again become endemic in this country. The announcement came, sadly, at the start of this year’s World Immunization Week, an annual celebration of one of the most powerful tools modern medicine offers.

The CDC announcement emphasizes that while all current U.S. measles outbreaks stemmed from cases imported here through foreign travel, the spread of the disease in some of the largest and longest lasting outbreaks seen in nearly two decades is the result of insufficient vaccine coverage in communities across America. These gaps, the CDC notes, accompany a 300% increase in the numbers of measles cases globally compared to this time last year. The 695 cases of measles across 22 states highlight dangerous gaps in both public health education and access.

IDSA urges strong immunization requirements for all CDC-recommended vaccines, with exemptions provided only in cases of medical contraindication. IDSA will continue to highlight the urgent needs, underscored by the now record numbers of measles cases, for increased investments in CDC and state immunization programs and for global health security investments to detect, prevent and respond to the spread of infectious diseases worldwide.

In addition to releasing Measles Vaccination Myths and Facts, IDSA spokespersons remain active in responding to media requests as news of the record-breaking numbers captures public interest. IDSA spokesperson Saad Omer, MBBS, MPH, PhD, FIDSA, spoke with National Public Radio’s Morning Edition April 26 about the outbreaks and quarantines at UCLA and Cal State, LA. In addition, IDSA Public Health Committee Chair Matt Zahn, MD spoke with IDSA’s Amanda Jezek for the public education IDSA podcast, Measles and the Vaccines You Need. Follow IDSA’s Measles Resources page for further updates. 

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