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Measles still a threat in the United States

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The Kansas Department of Health and Environment announced today that it has received reports of more measles cases in the Wichita area. The outbreak in Kansas has resulted in 14 illnesses and 11 are in the Sedgwick County / city of Wichita area, the Wichita Eagle reported July 22. Three measles infections were reported earlier in the summer in the Kansas City metro area where a large outbreak has been underway. The original cases in Wichita were linked to that outbreak.

Kansas has 14 illnesses, and Missouri last reported another 21. The overall total for the continuing Kansas City / Wichita measles outbreak is 35 cases through June 19.

The Ohio measles outbreak has not ended. In the last week, a total of six new illnesses have been detected, bringing the current total to 374. The state had gone nearly three weeks without a new measles case and public health officials had hoped that the contagious respiratory illness had been contained.

Through July 18, the Centers for Disease Control have received reports of 580 measles illnesses in 2014. The cases are from 20 states. Ohio, Kansas and Missouri and Washington have the only outbreaks that are ongoing at this time.

The Ohio measles outbreak in Amish country is the largest this year. An outbreak in southern California early in 2014 ended with 60 cases. The Kansas City outbreak, including the newest cases in Wichita, is the third largest. New York City had an outbreak in early 2014 that ended at 27. The state of Washington has reported 27 measles illnesses, with three major outbreaks including one that has not yet concluded. That measles outbreak is in the Micronesian community in the Seattle area.

The growing number of measles cases in the United States is the highest since 1995. Many of the outbreaks can be directly traced to returning travelers who contracted the illness overseas. The Amish outbreak began with one illness contracted in the Philippines which is fighting an epidemic. The latest Washington outbreak is linked to an outbreak of measles on several islands in Micronesia.

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