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Measles in the U.S. reach 200 cases

The number of measles cases in the United States may have reached 200 cases May 9, 2014, as scattered individual cases and the Ohio outbreak continue to add up. Today's report from Ohio is 59 measles cases, equaling the California outbreak as the largest total number of cases for 2014. The modern record is 220 cases in 2011 and that was the entire year.

Eyes of child with measles.
CDC / Barbara Rice / public domain

The Centers for Disease Control released their latest count of measles cases through May 2. They reported 168 at that time. Combining public health and media reports, Ohio has reported an additional 28 cases and Pennsylvania two cases. Minnesota and Virginia have each reported one case.

WeAreCentralPA.com is reporting that a Pittsburgh area man is the latest measles case in Pennsylvania. The Allegheny County Health Department has not been able to determine how the patient became infected since he has not traveled outside of western Pennsylvania. They believe that the patient had been fully immunized against measles.

A patient in northern Virginia was contagious for for nine days with the measles, according to the Loudoun and Fairfax County Health Departments. Between April 23 and May 1, the patient worked and shopped in and around Chantilly, VA. The link contains a list of locations and times where other people could have been exposed to the measles.

The Centers for Disease Control describe measles as:

a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus. The disease of measles and the virus that causes it share the same name. The disease is also called rubeola.

Measles causes fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. About one out of 10 children with measles also gets an ear infection, and up to one out of 20 gets pneumonia. For every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die.

In both the California and Ohio outbreaks, several patients have required hospitalization. There have been no measles-related deaths reported.

There appears to be little chance that the total number of measles cases in the United States will not set a modern record in 2014. Public health agencies in all of the affected areas have been operating a number of immunization clinics, with many offering free or low cost vaccinations, in an effort to halt the spread of the illness. Measles outbreaks, some quite serious, continue overseas and most of the cases this year are directly linked to travelers returning from such areas.