CDC has growing concern over global measles outbreaks

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is concerned by the growing number of measles outbreaks in Europe, Asia and Africa in recent months.

The CDC says the United States is facing the highest number of measles cases it has seen since 1996, in large part because of unvaccinated travelers returning with the disease from overseas, according to the New York Times.

The center is encouraging U.S. travelers who are planning overseas trips to be certain to obtain the MMR vaccination before leaving the United States.

As of mid-June, 156 cases of measles were confirmed in at least 25 states. Of these cases, at least 136 involved people who had travelled to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks.

Britain, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia and Switzerland are among several countries that have reported an increase in the number of measles cases they are seeing, the New York Times reports. The World Health Organization recently reported that there were 4,937 measles cases in France from January to March, compared with 5,090 cases for the entirety of 2010.

“There’s been a buildup of children who have not been immunized over the years,” Rebecca Martin, of the World Health Organization’s Copenhagen office, said, the Associated Press reports. “It’s almost like a threshold. When you have enough people who have not been immunized, then outbreaks can occur.”