By Banner Health

At least 314 cases of measles have been reported in the United States since Jan. 1, the Centers for Disease Control announced Monday.

Federal health officials are worried that at the current rate of infection, the number of 2019 cases will eclipse the 372 cases that were recorded in all of 2018.

Currently, there are six outbreak areas in the U.S that are fighting this highly infectious, deadly disease. An outbreak is when three or more cases are reported in a single area, according to the CDC.

Measles kills more than 100,000 people around the world annually.

It was eradicated in the United States in 2000, but due to the increasing number of unvaccinated individuals, including international travelers, it has resurfaced.

Because measles is so contagious, anyone who is not vaccinated is at the greatest risk of contracting it.

Up to 90 percent of people who are not immune and who encounter a person infected with the measles will become infected. This includes infants who are too young to be vaccinated as well as those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons.

Banner Health experts from different medical fields are available to give their insights on this disease:

  • Complications of measles: “Complications of the measles include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, encephalitis–swelling of the brain–and even death. Measles may also cause pregnant women to give birth prematurely or have a low-birth-weight baby.’’ – Devin Minior, MD, Banner Urgent Care physician executive.
  • MMR vaccine’s effectiveness: “The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is very safe and effective. One dose of the vaccine is about 93 percent effective, and two doses of the vaccine are about 97 percent effective.’’ – Gina Montion, MD, Banner pediatrician.
  • No link between vaccine and autism: “Scientists in the United States and other countries have studied the MMR shot and have found no link between the MMR shot and autism.‘’ – Michelle Ruha, MD, Banner medical toxicologist.
  • The importance of herd immunity: “Herd immunity is the resistance to the spread of contagious diseases within a population. . . By maintaining herd immunity, the community is able to protect those who are too young to receive vaccination, and those who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons (e.g. compromised immune systems, allergies to vaccines).’’ – David Moromisato, MD, pediatric critical care specialist and chief medical officer of Banner Children’s at Cardon Children’s Medical Center. 

About Banner Health

Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care, and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com.

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