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CDC: Spike in Measles Cases Seen This Year

Most cases result from importation of disease from overseas

MONDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- A total of 64 cases of measles have been confirmed in the United States so far in 2008, the largest number of cases reported for the same time period since 2001, according to a report issued this week from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Of the 64 cases, 63 patients were unvaccinated or had unknown vaccination status, while one patient had received two vaccine doses. The majority of cases occurred in children, and the most commonly cited reason for lack of vaccination was exemption due to religious or personal beliefs (67 percent). Thirteen cases occurred in children who were too young to be vaccinated, the report indicates.

Measles cases have been reported in nine states, with four states reporting ongoing outbreaks: Arizona, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin. While most affected patients were U.S. citizens, the majority of cases were associated with importation of measles from other countries. The CDC recommends that clinicians maintain heightened suspicion among patients who travel abroad, particularly to Europe and Israel, where sizable measles outbreaks are occurring.

"These cases and outbreaks serve as a reminder that measles can and still does occur in the United States. Ongoing measles virus transmission was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, but the risk of cases from imported disease remains," according to a statement from the CDC.

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