It’s often thought of as a childhood disease long forgotten, but the measles is infecting roughly 20 million children and adults worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are now over 300 reported cases in the United States.
“There is a concern because this is the highest number of cases of measles that we’ve seen in the United States in that period of time since 1994,” said Dr. Tina Stefanski, Executive Director at the Office of Public Health.
Stefanski says measles is no longer native to the U.S. and is now linked to overseas travel. She added the anti-vaccination movement over the last decade is also a contributing factor.
“There are still people who don’t want vaccinations,” said Stefanski. “As healthcare providers, we encourage people and parents to educate their children. Measles, for example, is deadly and very contagious.”
Of this year’s cases, the CDC says 52% are 20-years of age and older. But, measles can also infect children as young as two-weeks. Symptoms include a full body rash, fever, runny nose, and cough and can lead to deadly secondary infections.
It’s a wake-up call during a time of year when traveling is at its peak.
“If (you) plan on traveling internationally, make sure you have been vaccinated for measles and you have two doses of documented measles vaccine,” said Stefanski.