Health Officials Offering Free Vaccinations to Contain Spread of Measles

These are unrelated to the four non-resident cases that traveled through Los Angeles County earlier this year.

A CDC spokesman said Tuesday that the agency is expecting the number of cases in 2019 to exceed 2014, when there were 667 cases.

Twenty-two states have reported measles cases this year, but the vast majority have been in NY. Outbreaks have been identified by the CDC in NYC, Washington, Michigan, New York state's Rockland County, California's Butte County, and New Jersey.

In addition to New York City, there are outbreaks in California; Rockland County, New York; New Jersey and MI, where nearly all 43 cases are linked to one man who traveled to the Detroit area from Brooklyn, unaware that he had measles. Brooklyn officials blame the current outbreak on a rash of voluntarily unvaccinated children, kids of upper-class white residents of Brooklyn, and of a handful of Orthodox Jewish enclaves in the area. Conversely, measles is known to be highly contagious and infects ninety percent of unvaccinated individuals who come in contact with the disease.

The outbreak includes four confirmed cases linked to one another after global travel and an additional single case of measles after worldwide travel, according to officials. The first dose is given when the child is between 12 and 15 months old.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says it's also expanding outreach in communities with low vaccination rates and educating the public on the importance of vaccines.

According to the CDC, if children receive the required two doses of vaccination, it is 97 percent effective in preventing measles.

After three to five days a red, blotchy rash appears on the face and head and then spreads down the body.

"Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent further spread of measles to our community members - our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, local grocer or barista", said Shasta County Health Officer Dr. Karen Ramstrom in a prepared statement.

Although measles was thought to be almost eradicated in the United States in 2000, the disease has reappeared in recent months in the form of outbreaks in several states.

Mumps is also a vaccine preventable disease that is extremely contagious, contracted by an estimated 186,000 U.S citizens per year prior to the 1967 vaccination program.

Even if you are up-to-date with your measles vaccination, watch for symptoms of measles until May 6, 2019.

"Proximity is always a concern but we've become such a travel society that these diseases are one flight away", said Heffron.

People born before January 1, 1969 are considered to be immune because measles used to be very common, and so this age group does not need the measles immunisations.

  • Joanne Flowers