Photo Credit: courtesy, CDC
Young boy on day 3 of measles rash, clinical illustration photo, 1963

Figures released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 71 more cases of measles were reported last week – with 68 of them from New York – bringing this year’s total to 626 cases since January 1.

The outbreak has led to officials ordering the closure of some yeshivas that refuse to cooperate with New York City Health Department vaccination orders but it has yet to show any signs of slowing down in New York City, or in New York State.

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“This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000, second only to the 667 cases reported during all of 2014,” the CDC said in a statement on its website Monday. “In the coming weeks, 2019 confirmed case numbers will likely surpass 2014 levels.”

The 22 states in the U.S. which reported cases of measles to the national agency included: 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.

Outbreaks of the disease (defined as three or more cases) are reported in California’s Butte County (23 cases), Michigan (43 cases), New York’s Rockland County (199 cases), New York City (359 cases), New Jersey (13 cases), Washington State (74 cases),

According to the CDC, large measles outbreaks are occurring not only in Israel, but also in Ukraine and the Philippines – and all three were sources of the outbreak currently taking place in the United States.

In 2018, “82 people brought measles to the United States from other countries,” the CDC reported. This is the greatest number of imported cases since measles was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, according to the agency.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported, meanwhile, that in the first three months of 2018 the number of cases of the measles virus worldwide reported to the agency was three times higher than it was last year.

In Africa, the number was much higher – a 700-percent increase compared to last year – with 67,000 cases of measles, and 901 deaths related to the illness in 2018 alone in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So far this year, more than 16,000 cases of measles were reported in the country, including 284 measles-related deaths.

On the island of Madagascar between September 2018 and February 2019 there were more than 67,000 cases of measles reported, including 828 deaths. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told Voice of America (VOA) that – as in the United States – the decrease in measles vaccination is what’s causing the preventable return of the disease worldwide.

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