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April 01, 2019

Already more U.S. measles cases this year than all of 2018

Illness Measles
02012019_measles_flickr Dave Haygarth/via Flickr Creative Commons

Some people wrongly believe measles is a benign, childhood disease that causes a bit of a rash, a dribbling nose and a few spots. In reality, the disease is highly contagious and sometimes deadly. And it is back with a vengeance as unsubstantiated claims erode confidence in vaccine that has saved 20 million lives since the year 2000.

There have been more measles cases in the United States since the beginning of the year than in all of 2018, according to federal health officials.

Through March, 387 cases of the contagious, vaccine-preventable disease were reported, 15 more than all of last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday, according to the Associated Press.

The preliminary numbers may change, but the 2019 tally is already the most since 2014, when 667 cases were reported, the AP reported.

MORE HEALTH: Measles outbreak sends vaccine demand soaring, even among hesitant

The high number of cases have been propelled by outbreaks in several states, including California, Illinois, New York, Texas and Washington.

Sixteen confirmed cases of measles have been reported in California so far this year, according to recent data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Huffington Post reportedState health officials said the tally is cause for concern, especially since 21 cases of the disease were reported in California in all of 2018.

Dr. James Watt, who heads the CDPH division of communicable disease control, said recent outbreaks have tended to be in communities with lower vaccination rates.

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