2011 worst for U.S. measles in 15 years

ATLANTA, April 20 (UPI) -- Measles was eliminated in the United States in 2000 but it is still imported, and measles cases in 2011 hit a 15-year peak, federal health officials said.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said 222 measles cases and 17 measles outbreaks were reported to federal health officials in 2011, compared with a median of 60 -- range 37-140 cases -- annually from 2001 to 2010.


"Of the 222 cases, half were associated with 17 outbreaks, and 200 were associated with importations from other countries, including 52 cases in U.S. residents returning from abroad and 20 cases in foreign visitors," the report said. "Eighty-six percent of the measles patients were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. The increased numbers of outbreaks and measles importations into the United States underscore the ongoing risk for measles among unvaccinated persons and the importance of vaccination against measles."

Of the 222 measles cases reported from 31 states during 2011 the median age of the patients was 14, but the ages ranged from 3 months to age 84, the report said.

Fourteen percent of those infected were under age 12 months, 26 percent were ages 1-4, 21 percent were ages 5-19 and 39 percent were age 20 and older.


Thirty-two percent of the measles patients were hospitalized, 24 percent had diarrhea, 21 percent were dehydrated and 17 percent had pneumonia. No cases of encephalitis and no deaths were reported, the report said.

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