U.S. records no new measles cases for first week since outbreak began

An illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle studded with glycoprotein tubercles in this handout image obtained by Reuters April 9, 2019. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Health officials recorded no new cases of measles in the United States last week, marking the first week without new cases of the disease since the start of an outbreak largely linked to parents who declined to vaccinate their children.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday it had recorded 1,241 cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease in 31 states as of Sept. 12.

The current outbreak of measles is the worst to hit the country since 1992, when 2,126 cases were reported, and threatens to end the nation’s measles-free status.

The majority of U.S. measles cases this year have occurred in children who had not received the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which confers immunity to the disease.

Federal health officials have attributed the outbreak in large part to a vocal fringe of U.S. parents who refuse to vaccinate their children because they believe, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in them can cause autism.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in an April that the current outbreak is “completely avoidable” and the unfortunate result of some people’s choice to deny the proven safety of vaccines.

The weekly increase in the number of cases has tapered down over the last few months, dropping to 7 new cases last week. The report of zero new cases is the latest indication that the outbreak is petering out after dozens of cases were reported per week earlier this year.

The disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there was no continuous transmission of the disease for a year. Still, cases of the virus occur and spread via travelers coming from countries where measles is common.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Nick Zieminski)

U.S. records 16 new measles cases as outbreak shows signs of slowing

FILE PHOTO: Materials are seen left at demonstration by people opposed to childhood vaccination after officials in Rockland County, a New York City suburb, banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces, in West Nyack, New York, U.S. March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

(Reuters) – The United States recorded 16 new measles cases between July 18 and July 25, federal health officials said on Monday, as the spread of the disease, which has infected 1,164 people this year in the worst U.S. outbreak since 1992, shows signs of slowing.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the new cases represented a 1.4% increase in the number of cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease since the previous week.

In recent weeks, the CDC has reported smaller increases in the number of measles cases, compared with a surge of more than a hundred cases reported in a single week earlier this year.

The running tally of cases this year, which have popped up in 30 states, includes active cases and those that have since resolved. No fatalities have been reported.

Health experts say the virus has spread mostly among school-age children whose parents declined to give them the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine, which confers immunity to the disease. A vocal fringe of U.S. parents cites concerns that the vaccine may cause autism despite scientific studies that have debunked such claims.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there was no continuous transmission of the disease for a year. Still, cases of the virus occur and spread via travelers coming from countries where measles is common.

CDC officials have warned that the country risks losing its measles elimination status if the ongoing outbreak, which began in October 2018 in New York, continues until October 2019.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; editing by Maju Samuel and Jonathan Oatis)

U.S. recorded 18 new cases of measles last week

FILE PHOTO: Materials are seen left at demonstration by people opposed to childhood vaccination after officials in Rockland County, a New York City suburb, banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces, in West Nyack, New York, U.S. March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

(Reuters) – The United States recorded 18 new measles cases last week, taking the total for the year to 1,095 in the worst outbreak since 1992, federal health officials said on Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has recorded cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease in 28 states as of June 27, the majority of them in New York City and nearby Rockland County.

The running tally includes both active cases and those that have since resolved. No fatalities have been reported.

Health experts say the virus has spread among school-age children whose parents declined to give them the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, which confers immunity to the disease. A vocal fringe of U.S. parents cite concerns that the vaccine may cause autism, despite scientific studies that have debunked such claims.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there was no continuous transmission of the disease for a year. Still, cases of the virus occur and spread via travelers coming from countries where measles is common.

CDC officials have warned that the country risks losing its measles elimination status if the ongoing outbreak, which began in October 2018 in New York, continues until October 2019.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Bill Berkrot)

U.S. measles outbreak spreads to Idaho and Virginia, hits 1,022 cases

FILE PHOTO: A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle, Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

The United States’ worst measles outbreak in a quarter-century spread to Idaho and Virginia last week as public health authorities on Monday reported 41 new cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease.

The U.S. has recorded 1,022 cases of the diseases this year as of June 6, in an outbreak blamed on misinformation about vaccines, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The 2019 outbreak, which has reached 28 states, is the worst since 1992, when 2,126 cases were recorded.

Federal health officials attribute this year’s outbreak to U.S. parents who refuse to vaccinate their children. These parents believe, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in the vaccine can cause autism.

“We cannot say this enough: Vaccines are a safe and highly effective public health tool that can prevent this disease and end the current outbreak,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement last week.

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there was no continuous transmission of the disease for a year. Still, cases of the virus occur and spread via travelers coming from countries where measles is common.

CDC officials have warned that the country risks losing its measles elimination status if the ongoing outbreak, which began in October 2018 in New York, continues until October 2019.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York and Aakash Jagadeesh Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Scott Malone and Susan Thomas)

U.S. measles outbreak grows with 60 new measles cases across 26 states

FILE PHOTO: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) – The United States recorded 60 new measles cases last week, taking confirmed cases for the year to 940, the worst outbreak since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000, federal health officials said on Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 6.8% increase in the number of measles cases in the week ended May 24 in an outbreak that has now reached 26 states. The agency has been providing weekly updates every Monday.

Experts warn that the outbreak is not over as the number of cases edges closer to the 1994 total of 958. That was the highest number since 1992, when the CDC recorded 2,126 cases.

Public health officials have blamed the measles resurgence on the spread of misinformation about vaccines, as a vocal fringe of parents oppose vaccines, believing, contrary to scientific studies, that ingredients in them can cause autism.

Although the virus was eliminated from the United States in 2000, meaning the disease was no longer a constant presence, outbreaks still happen via travelers coming from countries where measles is still common, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

U.S. measles outbreak triggers quarantine at two Los Angeles universities

FILE PHOTO: A measles poster is seen at Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles, California February 5, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A nationwide measles outbreak has led health officials to quarantine dozens of people at two Los Angeles universities, officials said on Thursday.

The quarantine affects the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) and comes as the United States battles the highest number of measles cases since the country declared the virus eliminated in 2000.

The United States has confirmed 695 cases of measles, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday. Many of the case occurred in the states of New York and Washington.

California has confirmed 38 cases, state health officials have said.

The people ordered quarantined at the two California campuses were exposed to measles and could not provide evidence they had been immunized against the disease, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement.

“Both universities are assisting with the implementation of quarantine orders and determining how best to support students who must be quarantined and who live on campus,” the Department of Public Health said.

At Cal State LA, the quarantine is related to a measles exposure at a library on April 11. The quarantine initially affected about 200 employees, including some student-employees, the university said in a statement.

That number was later reduced to 156 people, the Department of Public Health said in an email on Thursday, and the quarantine will end in a week.

At UCLA, 119 students and eight staff members who were exposed to measles at the campus earlier this month and could not provide proof of immunity were ordered quarantined on Wednesday, the university said in a statement.

Since then, officials have released more than 40 people from the quarantine after establishing they had immunity. The UCLA quarantine will end by Tuesday, according to the Department of Public Health.

The virus can lead to deadly complications, but no measles deaths have been reported in the latest U.S. outbreak.

U.S. public health officials have blamed the nationwide outbreak, which coincides with a global rise in the prevalence of the disease, in part on the spread of misinformation about the safety of vaccines.

Although the disease was eliminated from the country in 2000, meaning the virus was no longer continually present year-round, outbreaks still happen via travelers coming from countries where measles is common, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by G Crosse and Leslie Adler)

Some 156 people in 10 states infected with E. coli from ground beef: CDC

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) – A total of 156 people in 10 states have been infected with E. coli after eating tainted ground beef at home and in restaurants since the beginning of March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday.

No deaths have been reported but 20 people have been hospitalized after they were infected with the strain E. coli O103 since March 1, the CDC said on its website.

The agency said an investigation is ongoing to determine the source of the contaminated ground beef that was supplied to grocery stores and restaurants.

“At this time, no common supplier, distributor, or brand of ground beef has been identified,” the CDC said.

The investigation began on March 28, when officials in Kentucky and Georgia notified the CDC of the outbreak. Since then, some 65 cases have been reported in Kentucky, 41 in Tennessee and another 33 in Georgia.

E. coli cases have also been reported in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio and Virginia.

The CDC said that illnesses after March 26 may not have been reported yet because the lead time is two to three weeks.

People infected with the bacteria get sick two to eight days after swallowing the germ, and may sometimes develop a type of kidney failure.

Many of the infected people had bought large trays or chubs of ground beef from grocery stores and used the meat to make dishes like spaghetti sauce and Sloppy Joes, the agency said.

The regulator said it is not recommending that consumers avoid eating ground beef at this time, but said that consumers and restaurants should handle ground beef safely and cook it thoroughly to avoid foodborne illnesses.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, Wis.; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Matthew Lewis)

U.S. records 71 new measles cases in week as outbreak spreads

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell

(Reuters) – The United States recorded 71 new measles cases last week, a 13 percent increase as the country faces its second-worst outbreak of the disease in almost two decades, federal health officials said on Monday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had recorded 626 cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease in 22 states as of April 19, the highest rate of infection in five years.

The CDC had previously reported 555 cases in 20 states between Jan. 1 and April 11. The current outbreak will likely surpass the 2014 outbreak in number of cases, the CDC said on Monday.

Iowa and Tennessee were the two states that joined the CDC list with new measles cases.

More than half the cases recorded this year occurred in New York City, primarily in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The U.S. outbreak is part of a worldwide rise in the once nearly eradicated disease. The World Health Organization reported last week that global cases had risen nearly four-fold in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 compared with the same period last year.

A vocal fringe of parents in the United States oppose vaccines believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in them can cause autism or other disorders.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru and Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel and Bill Berkrot)

U.S. sees surge of nearly 20% in confirmed cases of measles, CDC reports

FILE PHOTO: A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg, two days after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn in response to a measles outbreak, is seen in New York, U.S., April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

(Reuters) – The number of confirmed cases of measles in the United States this year jumped by nearly 20 percent in the week ended April 11 in the country’s second-worst outbreak in nearly two decades, federal health officials reported on Monday.

As of April 11, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded 555 cases of the disease since the beginning of the year, up from 465 cases confirmed by April 4. The cases were found in 20 states spanning the country.

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo

The measles virus is highly contagious and can lead to deadly complications, particularly in children. The CDC report did not say whether there have been any fatalities.

A growing and vocal fringe of parents in the United States oppose measles vaccines believing, contrary to scientific evidence, that ingredients in the vaccines can cause autism or other disorders.

The United States declared that measles had been eliminated from the country in 2000, meaning the virus is no longer present year-round. But outbreaks still happen each year, typically when unvaccinated people travel to the country from parts of the world where the disease is still common.

New York City has recorded at least 285 cases of measles since October, according to local health officials, the large majority among members of the Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn.

Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the outbreak a public health emergency last week and ordered unvaccinated people in the affected parts of Brooklyn to get the vaccine or face a fine. It is the worst outbreak seen in the city since 1991, the mayor said.

Most of the Brooklyn cases are among children. Several people had to be hospitalized but no fatalities had been reported as of last week.

New York health officials said the Brooklyn outbreak was caused by an unvaccinated child returning from a trip to Israel, which is also grappling with an outbreak.

Health officials say they have seen anti-vaccination pamphlets containing misinformation being distributed in the affected parts of Brooklyn.

Another outbreak has hit Orthodox Jewish families in New York’s Rockland County. Officials there banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces last month.

That order was overturned by a state judge, a decision being appealed by Rockland officials.

(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Bill Trott)

Explainer: Low vaccination rates, global outbreaks fuel U.S. measles spread

A measles poster is seen at Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles, California February 5, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – A measles outbreak that has stricken at least 225 people in New York state since October began with a traveler who visited Israel during the Jewish high holidays and returned to a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Rockland County.

A similar pattern unfolded three months later and nearly 3,000 miles (4,800 km) away when a person who visited Eastern Europe returned to a community with strong ties to a local church group in Vancouver, Washington. More than 50 people fell ill there.

In both instances, U.S. travelers picked up measles in foreign countries where the highly contagious disease was running rampant and brought it back to places where vaccination rates were too low by U.S. public health standards, setting off the worst outbreaks seen in those states in decades.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says New York’s outbreak marks the highest tally of imported cases since measles was declared eradicated in the United States in 2000.

The two outbreaks appear to be winding down, health officials say, after concerted efforts to pinpoint the origins and isolate and inoculate those who were exposed but unprotected and educate parents who had resisted vaccines.

The disease has spread mostly among school-age children whose parents declined to get them vaccinated. Most cited philosophical or religious reasons, or concerns – debunked by medical science – that the three-way vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) could cause autism, authorities said.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said another key factor was mere “complacency” in an age where the potential ravages of measles are unfamiliar to parents who came of age after the vaccine was introduced in 1957.

In Rockland County, the suburb north of Manhattan accounting for the bulk of cases, the state has vaccinated 15,000 children since the outbreak began there last autumn, Zucker said. The Brooklyn borough of New York City was another hot spot.

Still, officials say the measles crisis in New York and Washington states offer a lesson about the importance of maintaining a minimum level of “herd” immunization against dangerous, preventable diseases such as measles.

It also highlights the global nature of disease control, in which a hot spot of infection in one country can ignite a distant outbreak in an immunization-weak spot of another, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington’s top epidemiologist.

Here are some key facts about measles and immunization, according to public health experts and the CDC.

WHAT IMMUNIZATION RATES ARE IDEAL?

A 95 percent rate of immunization is required to provide sufficient “herd” protection in a given population. Rates as low as 60 percent were found in parts of New York where measles spread, Zucker said.

HOW BAD CAN MEASLES GET?

Symptoms typically include high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, followed by tiny white spots inside the mouth and a red rash that can cover the body.

Serious and potentially fatal complications, especially in young children and pregnant women, can include pneumonia and swelling of the brain. Ear infections occur in about 10 percent of children with measles and can lead to permanent hearing loss.

One rare but fatal complication is subacute panencephalitis (SSPE), which can attack the central nervous system seven to 10 years after a person has recovered from measles.

HOW CONTAGIOUS IS MEASLES?

Measles is spread through casual contact with the virus, which can linger and remain infectious in the air of an enclosed space for up to two hours after it is breathed out by someone carrying the disease. The rate of transmission from an infected person to another individual nearby who lacks immunity is about 90 percent.

ORIGINS OF LATEST OUTBREAKS?

Health authorities say the strain of the virus identified in Washington state matches the one circulating widely in Ukraine since last year. The New York outbreak has been tracked back to separate flare-ups of measles in Israel and in Eastern Europe.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney)