Measles cases in the U.S. triple from last year

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that there have been 220 measles cases in the United States so far this year, more than triple the usual 60 to 70 cases seen in most years.

So far, there have been no measles related deaths reported in the United States this year, but in Europe, which saw 29,000 measles cases in the first seven months of 2011, nine deaths have been reported, according to CNN.

The CDC reported that of the 220 U.S. cases, 87 percent involved people who had not been given the vaccine, while the rest, 13 percent, were too young to be inoculated. Most of the cases involved people who had recently traveled overseas, particularly to Africa, Asia or Western Europe.

Patsy Stinchfield, an infectious disease specialist at the Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, said that although the U.S. vaccination rate against the measles is 91.5 percent, those that are not vaccinated put themselves and others at risk.

"Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children," Stinchfield said, CNN reports.

According to the CDC, 72 percent of teens and children are not immunized because of parents that claim religious or personal beliefs prevent them from doing so.