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CDC Urges Vaccinations as Measles Cases Rise Across U.S.

The first quarter of 2024 has seen the number of measles cases recorded in the U.S. stand significantly higher than in recent years, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) details.

Americans have reported a total of 338 cases since January 1, 2020—and 97 cases, or 29 percent of the total, came between the start of 2024 and March 28, per the report. And as of April 11, the number of cases in 2024 had risen to 121.

“What was surprising about 2024 is that we’ve seen a significant increase,” John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, told ABC News’ Mary Kekatos.

“It’s an alarming number, because it indicates a trend going in the wrong direction for us, a virus that we have successfully controlled, a virus that we successfully have an effective vaccine for.”

To prevent the spread of measles, the nation needs to maintain high levels of measles vaccine coverage, and undervaccinated communities should get immunized, the CDC report says.

More than 90 percent of people infected since the start of 2020 were either unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status.

“I think that people need to remember that this is a preventable disease,” Susan Hassig, an infectious disease researcher at Tulane University, told Devi Shastri and Mike Stobbe of the Associated Press (AP).

“It is a potentially dangerous disease for their children.”

The CDC report comes with this piece of advice regarding vaccinations against one of the world’s most contagious diseases:

Enhanced efforts are needed to increase routine U.S. vaccination coverage, encourage vaccination before international travel, identify communities at risk for measles transmission, and rapidly investigate suspected measles cases to reduce cases and complications of measles.

The CDC’s own advice recommends all children get their first dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine between the ages of 12 months and 15 months and their second and final dose between four and six years of age.

The first measles vaccine was introduced in 1963 and the disease was considered eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, meaning it is no longer constantly present.

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