"This is alarming", said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert.
WESTLAKE, Ohio- In just a matter of weeks the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the USA will hit a new record of measles cases. Children younger than 5 years of age and adults older than 20 are more likely to suffer from measles complications. There were 963 cases reported in the United States in 1994 and 508 in 1996. Outbreaks have been identified by the CDC in NYC, Washington, Michigan, New York state's Rockland County, California's Butte County, and New Jersey. Most of those cases have been in unvaccinated people.
The move was strategically pulled a week before Passover, which is this week and marks a time when families travel around the city to various community events.
Symptoms of measles appear 7 to 14 days after a person is infected. The CDC said some organizations there are deliberately spreading "inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines". Those who have had measles are immune. Even if someone has had two doses (or can't remember), doctors say it is OK to get a third dose.
Azar said the CDC is prepared to support local public health departments in monitoring and responding to outbreaks.
"Many parents are afraid".
In the meantime, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health has confirmed five known cases of measles in Los Angeles County. "It's not so easy to discern what is real and what is not".
Common symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose and irritated eyes. Severe complications may include pneumonia, swelling of the brain, and death.
According to the CDC, for every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it. At this rate, the nation is expected to exceed its all-time post-eradication annual record within the first half of year.
A small group of parents responded to the mandate by suing the city on Monday, claiming that "there is insufficient evidence of a measles epidemic or unsafe outbreak" to justify the order, and arguing that the city was forcing them to give their children a vaccine, which they claimed (wrongly) is harmful.
Persons should check their vaccine history for vaccination with measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Confirmed cases have been found in rizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
The United States is on track to have the highest number of confirmed cases of measles in almost 20 years.
The largest outbreak has been in New York City where officials said at least 390 cases have been recorded since October, mostly among children in Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn, making it the city's worst outbreak since 1991.