Measles were declared eliminated in 2000, but thanks to anti-vaccination activists and parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, the disease is back with a vengeance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just revealed that the first four months of 2019 (January 1 to April 26), 704 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states, with 78 cases reported from the previous week alone. This is the greatest number of measles cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.
The states that have reported cases to the CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.
According to the CDC, the increase is due in large part to travelers who get measles abroad and bring it back to the U.S. as the worst souvenir ever, and then spread the highly contagious virus to unvaccinated people. For instance, outbreaks in New York State, New York City, and New Jersey contributed to most of the cases in 2018. The disease spread among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities after travelers brought measles back from Israel, which is fighting an outbreak of its own.
In response to New York City’s outbreak, the city has made vaccinations mandatory and religious leaders are urging their followers to get vaccinated.