The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report today that the number of measles cases nationwide stands at 695.
This is the highest total since the year 2000.
Measles are a vaccine-preventable disease.
Today, the U.S. secretary of Health and Human services spoke out for the first time on the U.S. measles outbreak, and said in a statement, “Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease."
In the CDC’s statement on measles outbreaks and the importance of vaccines, released today by HHS Secretary Alex Azar:
“The United States is seeing a resurgence of measles, a disease that had once been effectively eliminated from our country. And today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that ongoing measles outbreaks in 22 states has led to the highest number of cases reported nationwide since the disease was declared eliminated in this country in 2000. Measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease. We have the ability to safely protect our children and our communities. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease. The measles vaccines are among the most extensively studied medical products we have, and their safety has been firmly established over many years in some of the largest vaccine studies ever undertaken.
"With a safe and effective vaccine that protects against measles, the suffering we are seeing is avoidable. The CDC is ready to support public health departments in monitoring and responding to outbreaks, and will continue to receive, review, and compile the latest reports of measles cases.
"All Americans would be safer and healthier if we received measles vaccines on the recommended schedule. Next week is a significant opportunity to educate ourselves on the importance of vaccines, as we mark National Infant Immunization Week. The Department of Health and Human Services will undertake a comprehensive campaign to reinforce the message that vaccines are safe and effective ways to protect your children, your family, yourself, and your neighbors.”
For more information about who should get the measles vaccine, go to vaccines.gov/diseases/measles.