On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 704 cases of measles have been confirmed in the US as of late April, marking the highest number of cases since 1994. The majority of cases—a little over 500—occurred in people who were unvaccinated. At least 22 states have reported cases of measles, with outbreaks in close-knit communities accounting for 88 percent of cases.
In New York, CDC officials blamed anti-vaccination groups for spreading misinformation about vaccines, especially among the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. “Sadly, these communities are being targeted with inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
While some outbreaks have subsided, CDC officials said they expect to see additional cases before the end of the year. At a CDC press call on Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar urged parents to vaccinate their children. “Vaccine-preventable diseases belong in the history books, not in our emergency room,” said Azar. “Vaccination is a simple, safe, and effective way to protect our loved ones and neighbors from the scourge of measles, and the suffering we are seeing today is completely avoidable.”
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