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A sign at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., explains the local state of emergency caused by a measles outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 695 measles cases in 22 states.
Number - Cases - United - States - Measles
"This is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was eliminated from this country in 2000," says a CDC statement issued late Wednesday.
The agency attributed the high number of cases primarily to a few large outbreaks — one in the state of Washington and two others in New York state. The New York outbreaks are among the largest and longest-lasting since 2000.
Outbreaks - Chance - Measles - Foothold - United
"The longer these outbreaks continue, the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States," the CDC said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement that the rise in measles cases is "avoidable."
Measles - Harmless - Childhood - Illness - Disease
"Measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease," he said. "We have the ability to safely protect our children and our communities. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease. The measles vaccines are among the most extensively studied medical products...
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