WORLD

US measles outbreak climbs to 880 with 41 new cases

The number of measles cases in the United States has climbed to 880 with 41 new cases reported this week, according to a weekly report published Monday by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

While the rise in cases has not been as dramatic as previous weeks, this year's outbreak is on track to surpass the previous record for the most measles cases in a year set in 1994, at 958.

U.S. authorities had declared person-to-person transmission of the disease eliminated in 2000.

Oklahoma has become the latest state to report cases of measles, joining 23 other states across the country.

There are currently measles outbreaks in Butte, Los Angeles and Sacramento counties in California, Rockland County in New York state, New York City and the states of Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington.

The highest number of cases was reported in New York City, where there was an outbreak in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods.

The outbreak began when an unvaccinated child traveled to Israel and returned with the disease, according to the city's health department.

The CDC said the majority of those affected had not been vaccinated, which has led to an unprecedented spread of the disease.

In response to the outbreaks, states have taken action against parents who are purposefully not vaccinating their children.

The governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee, signed a law last week that removes parents' ability to refuse to vaccinate their children against measles, mumps and rubella for personal or philosophical reasons before they attend a day care center or school.

New York City imposed a mandatory vaccination order for all residents.

About one or two out of every 1,000 people who get measles will die from the disease, but the illness has not caused a death in the U.S. since 2015, according to the CDC.

The measles virus lives in the nose and throat of an infected person and can stay alive for up to two hours in an area where that person coughed or sneezed.

"If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses or mouths, they can become infected," the CDC says on its website.

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