The number of measles cases in the United States has reached 154, as of Feb. 20, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monday.
The number of states remains unchanged at 17 and the District of Columbia. Three out of four cases are part of a large, ongoing multi-state outbreak linked to an amusement park in California, health officials note.
The CDC suggests the outbreak has it’s genesis from a traveler who became infected overseas with measles, then visited the amusement park while infectious. However, no source has been identified.
The California Department of Public Health says that in addition to the measles genotype B3 (the type found in the large measles outbreak in the Philippines and elsewhere), new introductions of measles (D8 strain) have also occurred.
The CDC says the majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.
Measles or rubeola, is an acute highly communicable viral disease that is characterized by Koplik spots in the cheek or tongue very early in the disease. A couple of days later a red blotchy rash appears first on the face, and then spreads, lasting 4-7 days. Other symptoms include fever, cough and red watery eyes. The patientmay be contagious from four days prior to the rash appearance to four days after rash appearance.
The disease is more severe in infants and adults. Complications from measles which is reported in up to 20% of people infected include; seizures, pneumonia, deafness and encephalitis.
Worldwide, according to new data published in the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Report, in 2013 there were an estimated 145,700 measles deaths.