Measles cases in Detroit area linked to haredi traveler rise to 39

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference in Brooklyn N.Y

The World Health Organization reported on Monday that global cases had risen almost four-fold in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 compared with the same period a year ago.

Measles is so contagious that 90 per cent of people who aren't immunised are infected if exposed to the virus. This follows consecutive increases over the past two years. The United Nations body said provisional data has indicated a "clear trend", with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases.

In 2017, the most recent year in which estimates are available, World Health Organization said measles caused "close to 110,000 deaths" worldwide. With data gathered from 170 countries, the report says there have been 112,163 cases of measles reported so far in 2019.

At this time in 2018, 163 countries had reported 28,124 cases. But when an worldwide traveler exposed to measles overseas brings the disease into the country, pockets of unvaccinated communities within the USA enable the disease to spread. (That means that the highly contagious virus is no longer considered to be continuously spreading in the country, though global travelers still bring in cases each year, sparking outbreaks of various sizes.) This year's tally is surpassed only by that of 2014, which saw 667 cases. And, yes, the reality is: if people don't get their act together and seriously consider the implications of not immunising themselves and their children, we could face a situation where measles quite literally catch on. Those who are most at risk of complications from measles infection are: "pregnant women, infants less than one-year-old and those who are immune compromised". The country is facing its larges measles outbreak in history.

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For the third week in a row, US health officials have added dozens of new reports to the year's list of confirmed measles cases, bringing the total to 555 - already the highest number in the past five years.

The CDC recommends MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccinations for children, starting at 12 months of age. Public health officials have been urging people to get vaccinated. The closing, which is the first for this outbreak, came less than a week after Mayor Bill De Blasio issued an emergency declaration that mandates measles vaccines for all children in four Brooklyn ZIP codes. The highest number of reported cases since 2000 was 667 in 2014, according to the CDC.

Venezuela, where the disease was once contained, has also seen tens of thousands of cases as the country's economic and political crises continue to push the healthcare system to the brink of collapse. It has not mutated to become more infectious or more risky.

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