The number of measles cases by mid-March has now exceeded the total from last year.

In the United States, a highly contagious disease that was once thought to be eradicated has resurfaced with at least 64 recorded cases nationwide by late last week. This is more than the total of 58 cases reported for all of last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rate of vaccinations against measles in the U.S. has declined since 2019, putting more people at risk of illness, disability, and death. This decline in vaccination rates threatens to erase years of progress as this previously eliminated vaccine-preventable disease returns, according to Jesse Ehrenfeld, president of the American Medical Association.

Measles is caused by a virus that is lodged in the nose or throat and can spread easily when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Early on, an infected person may experience symptoms such as a mild fever, persistent cough, runny nose, sore throat, and watery eyes. Typically, after a few days, the fever rises and red spots and bumps develop on the face before becoming a splotchy red rash over most of the body that lasts about a week. Complications from a measles infection can include dehydration, ear infection, irritated and swollen airways (croup), and a lung infection (pneumonia).

In early childhood

By Riley Johnson

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