FILE PHOTO: A vial of measles, mumps and rubella vaccines as well as an information leaflet are visible at the Boston Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts on February 26, 2015 REUTERS / Brian Snyder / Photo File
(Reuters) – The worst-ever measles outbreak in the United States in 25 years has spread to Oklahoma, health officials said Monday, reporting 41 new cases overall. of the country, bringing the total number of patients to 880 this year.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 4.9% increase in measles cases from May 10th to May 17th in an epidemic that now affects 24 states. The agency provides weekly updates every Monday.
The CDC said that there had been a confirmed case in Oklahoma.
Most of the new cases occurred in New York, said CDC spokesman Jason McDonald, with 21 cases registered in New York and nine in Rockland County.
Health experts say the virus has spread among school-aged children whose parents refused to give them the vaccine, which confers immunity to the disease. A vocal fringe of American parents, including some of New York's ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, is concerned that the vaccine could cause autism, despite scientific studies that refuted these claims.
Although the virus was eliminated from the country in 2000, which means that the disease was no longer a constant presence, outbreaks still occur through travelers from countries where measles is still current, according to the CDC.
Experts warn that the epidemic is not over, with the number of cases approaching 958 in 1994, the highest number since 1992, when the CDC recorded 2,126 cases.
More than 40 people in 2019 have caught measles in the United States from other countries, most commonly in Ukraine, Israel and the Philippines, federal officials said.
Report by Gabriella Borter in New York, from Ankur Banerjee to Bengaluru; Edited by Scott Malone and Bill Berkrot