FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Measles cases reach 20-year high in U.S

The CDC announced on Thursday that the amount of measles cases in the U.S. has reached a 20-year high.

Two hundred and eighty-eight cases of measles were reported to the CDC through May 23 of this year, a rate not seen since 1994. Ninety percent of the cases came from people who were unvaccinated.

"The current increase in measles cases is being driven by unvaccinated people, primarily U.S. residents, who got measles in other countries, brought the virus back to the U.S. and spread to others in communities where many people are not vaccinated," Anne Schuchat, the assistant surgeon general and director of the CDC's National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, said. "Many of the clusters in the U.S. began following travel to the Philippines where a large outbreak has been occurring since October 2013."

Among the U.S. residents who contracted measles in 2014, 85 percent of them did not receive vaccinations for personal, religious or philosophical reasons.

"Many U.S. health care providers have never seen or treated a patient with measles because of the nation's robust vaccination efforts and our rapid response to outbreaks," Schuchat said.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease. An estimated 20 million people worldwide are infected with measles every year, approximately 122,000 of whom die. The disease was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, meaning there had not been continuous transmission of measles for more than a year.