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Measles Cases in 2013 Could be the Worst in the US since 17 Years Ago

Update Date: Sep 12, 2013 05:10 PM EDT
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According to new statistics released today by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2013 might be the worst year of measles cases that the U.S. has seen in 17 years. The new numbers reveal an alarmingly high rate of measles within the nation, which could be attributed to the fact that parents are starting to refuse the vaccine for their young children.

The CDC report calculated that from January 1 to August 24, there were a record number of 159 measles cases. Since there is still a quarter of a year left, experts believe that the number of cases will continue to rise. If the number indeed increases, 2013 will have more measles cases since 1996, when there were around 500 cases accounted for. The measles outbreak in 2011 affected 222 individuals.

The growing number of measles cases could be a future problem for the U.S. In 2000, the disease was believed to have been eradicated. However, due to parents objecting vaccinations and an increase in foreigners who come from places where measles might be more common, the number of cases has increased.

"This is very bad. This is horrible," commented Dr. Buddy Creech, a pediatric infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University said according to CNN. "The complications of measles are not to be toyed with, and they're not altogether rare."

Based on the CDC's statistics on measles, one in three of every 1,000 American kids who get infected with this disease will die from it despite receiving good medical care. In 2011, around 40 percent of the children under five-years-old who were infected with measles had to be treated in hospitals. Due to the fact that measles is no longer considered a common illness in the U.S., Creech stated that he was worried about the lack of information on measles. If doctors and parents are unaware of the symptoms, the patient's health could be severely jeopardized.

"Many young pediatricians might not know what measles look like," Creech said.

Symptoms usually start off with a fever that is followed by a cough, runny nose and red eyes. Soon after these symptoms manifest, tiny, red spots start to develop and cover the entire body. These symptoms can last up to 10 days. 

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