News from the FDA/CDC

Measles: Latest weekly count is the highest of the year


Measles cases just set a new weekly high for 2019, and the total number for the year is already the second highest in the last decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Number of measles cases reported to the CDC

The 73 new cases of measles reported to the CDC during the week ending March 28 – more than any other single week so far in 2019 – brings the total number of cases for the year to 387, the CDC reported April 1. That surpasses the 372 reported in 2018 and is now the highest annual count since 667 cases were reported in 2014.

The ongoing outbreak in Rockland County, N.Y., which resulted in 6 new cases there last week and 52 for the year, prompted County Executive Ed Day to declare a state of emergency effective March 27 that bars unvaccinated individuals under age 18 years from public places for the next 30 days unless they receive an MMR vaccination.

“As this outbreak has continued our inspectors have begun to meet resistance from those they are trying to protect. They have been hung up on or told not to call again. They’ve been told ‘we’re not discussing this, do not come back,’ when visiting the homes of infected individuals as part of their investigations. This type of response is unacceptable and irresponsible. It endangers the health and well-being of others and displays a shocking lack of responsibility and concern for others in our community,” Mr. Day said in a written statement.

In addition to Rockland County, the CDC is currently tracking five other outbreaks: New York City, mainly Brooklyn (33 new cases last week); Washington state (74 cases for the year, but no new cases in the last week); New Jersey (10 total cases, with 8 related to an outbreak in Ocean and Monmouth Counties); and two in California (16 total cases, with 11 related to the outbreaks). One of the California outbreaks and the New Jersey outbreak are new, but the CDC is no longer reporting outbreaks in Texas and Illinois, so the total stays at six nationwide.

In related news from California, state Sen. Richard Pan (D), a pediatrician, and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D) introduced a bill to monitor vaccine exemptions “by requiring the state health department to vet each medical exemption form written by physicians [and to] maintain a database of exemptions that would allow officials to monitor which doctors are granting the exemptions,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

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