Pockets of unvaccinated children have provided fertile ground for the measles virus to take hold, resulting in 22 infected persons in Washington State and 177 in New York City, NBC News reported on Tuesday.
Most of the victims in New York are members of Orthodox Jewish communities across the state, according to NBC.
As a result of widespread vaccination, the disease was declared eliminated from the Americas in 2016, but reappeared in 2017 and 2018 in the US. At this point it is speculated that the measles were brought back to New York State by travelers returning from Israel, where the health ministry has been combating an epidemic of measles resulting from population clusters where parents are refusing to inoculate their children.
This January, the World Health Organization said anti-vaccination movements are among the 10 threats to global health in 2019. “Measles, for example, has seen a 30% increase in cases globally. The reasons for this rise are complex, and not all of these cases are due to vaccine hesitancy. However, some countries that were close to eliminating the disease have seen a resurgence,” WHO said in its report.
According to the CDC, in 2018, 349 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 26 states and the District of Columbia. This was the second-greatest number of annual cases reported since measles was eliminated in the US.
The worst year was 2014, with 667 cases.