Measles Cases Continue to Soar, Stirring Concern Over Long-Term Effects


The number of new U.S. measles cases continued to accelerate last week as health authorities race to curb the outbreaks and scientists who study the virus say measles may be more harmful than once believed.

There have been 555 cases of measles in 20 states across the U.S. this year as of April 11, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday, 90 more than were reported the previous week.

The increase in cases means 2019 could soon become the worst for measles in the U.S. since the disease was officially eliminated—meaning that it stopped circulating continuously—in 2000. In 2014, the worst year since elimination, 667 cases were reported.

The U.S. outbreaks this year are among the latest to emerge in developed countries, where high overall vaccination rates and access to health care make death from measles uncommon. Measles complications and deaths are a greater threat in poorer regions of the world, where inadequate nutrition and greater exposure to other infections can make it harder to fight off effects of measles.

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