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U.S. Measles Cases at 20-Year High

Almost all infections involve unvaccinated residents who traveled abroad, CDC says

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Anyone not vaccinated is at risk, the CDC says, especially if they travel abroad. Measles is still common in much of the world, including countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Pacific. It's estimated that 20 million people worldwide get measles each year and 122,000 die from the disease.

Measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000. But, that's been a blessing and a curse, Schuchat said. "Many U.S. health-care providers have never seen or treated a patient with measles because of the nation's robust vaccination efforts and our rapid response to outbreaks," she said.

If a health-care provider suspects that a patient has measles, they should immediately isolate the patient to help prevent the disease from spreading, immediately report the case to their local health department and collect specimens for blood and viral testing, the CDC said.

Infants and young children are at high risk of a serious case of measles, according to the CDC. The agency recommends two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine for everyone starting at 12 months of age. For those traveling abroad, the CDC urges that all U.S. residents older than 6 months receive the MMR vaccine.

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