The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that the number of measles cases in the nationwide outbreak has hit 704. The majority of these cases have been seen in children under the age of 18 who have not been vaccinated. Dr. Jon LaPook joins CBSN’s Elaine Quijano to discuss just how dangerous and infectious the disease can be.
President Trump has told Americans to “get their shots” as measles cases spread across the country.
“The vaccinations are so important,” he told reporters outside the White House.
Nearly 700 cases have been reported across 22 states amid a resurgence of the highly infectious disease, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.
Mr Trump has previously appeared to link vaccines and autism. Public health experts say there is no link.
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 City and New York state. The New York outbreaks are among the largest and longest lasting since 2000.
“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, said the rise in measles cases is “avoidable.”
“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 we have, and their safety has been firmly established over many years in some of the largest vaccine studies ever undertaken.”