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Measles back on the rise in US

26 April 2012 08:54

Vaccinations and medical travel insurance are vital with measles back on the agenda

Vaccinations and medical travel insurance are vital with measles back on the agenda

Health authorities have reported that there were four times more cases and outbreaks of measles than usual in the United States last year.

The highly infectious illness appears to be making an unexpected comeback, with 222 cases and 17 outbreaks recorded in 2011 compared with an annual average of just 60 cases and four outbreaks over the past decade.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in America is said to have received reports of 27 cases of measles so far in 2012 but Dr Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, says it is too early to tell how bad the situation will be this year.

"In 2011, we had the most number of reported measles in the US in 15 years," she said.

"It is too soon in the year to know whether this year will be as bad or worse than last year."

Measles had been declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 after public health measures successfully interrupted the transmission of disease from person-to-person.

However, despite a high vaccination rate of 90%in the country, the disease is still endemic in many other parts of the world and has now returned to the US, making it an important medical travel insurance issue again.

"Measles is extremely infectious and very good at finding those few people who aren't vaccinated," warned Dr Schuchat.