Measles on the Rise: 159 Cases of Measles Reported in the U.S. This Year

If you thought measles were a thing of the past, think again. According to a report on CNN, the disease, which researchers thought had been eradicated in 2000, is back with a vengeance.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 159 cases of measles were reported in the U.S. between January 1st and August 24th of this year. If reports continue at this pace, 2013 will see the most cases of measles since 1996, when around 500 cases were reported.

This sudden rash of measles cases can be largely attributed to visitors from other countries, where measles are commonly seen, along with parents in the U.S. who opt not to vaccinate their children. CNN claims that, of the measles cases that have been reported this year, 92 percent of the individuals were not vaccinated or had unknown vaccination status.

As Buddy Creech, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told CNN, “This is very bad. This is horrible. The complications of measles are not to be toyed with and they’re not altogether rare.”

The disease begins with a fever, and then comes the cough, runny nose and red eyes. A rash of tiny, red splotches spreads from the head to the rest of the body, lasting up to 10 days.

Because measles has been largely uncommon in the U.S., Creech fears that younger pediatricians might not recognize the symptoms. He urges parents who have been hesitant to vaccinate their children in the past to realize that not doing so has dire consequences, not just for their family but, for society as a whole: “None of us lives in isolation.”

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