Measles count surpasses 1,000 cases in US

Rabbi Hillel Handler an Orthodox anti-vaccination leader speaks via projection screen to an anti-vaccination rally in Brooklyn at a Jewish wedding hall

Rabbi Hillel Handler an Orthodox anti-vaccination leader speaks via projection screen to an anti-vaccination rally in Brooklyn at a Jewish wedding hall

In its latest update, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 971 measles cases have been confirmed across 26 states between January 1 and May 31 of this year.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement that the agency is "promoting the safety and effectiveness of vaccines amid concerning signs that there are pockets of undervaccination around the country".

"The 1,000th case of a preventable disease like measles is a troubling reminder of how important that work is to the public health of the nation", Azar continued. The World Health Organization notes that, in temperate regions, measles cases tend to peak in the winter and early spring, which would suggest that the accumulation of new cases will now fall off from the levels seen earlier this year. Most are from outbreaks in NY in Orthodox Jewish communities. According to the agency, it is the highest number of measles cases reported in the country in 27 years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were giving health care providers guidelines for recognizing and preventing measles, and developing a toolkit for physicians to counter misinformation, Azar said.

Clark County in Washington state had the second-largest outbreak in the USA this year with more than 70 cases reported.

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Measles is a highly-contagious, vaccine-preventable disease which is spread through the air and by person-to-person contact. But he emphasized the burden on the healthcare system from measles complications, such as children who may develop pneumonia and need intensive care. But the red blotchy rash that comes with it may help set it apart.

To protect yourself, doctors recommend immediate vaccination.

And if you have to cough or sneeze, use your sleeve or a tissue - but not your hands, the CDC says. This is an increase of 20 cases from the CDC's last official update of 981 confirmed cases in 26 states on Monday, June 3.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference declaring a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn in response to a measles outbreak, requiring unvaccinated people living in the affected areas to get the vaccine or face fines, in the Orthodox Jewish community of the Williamsburg neighborhood, in Brooklyn, New York City, US, April 9, 2019.

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