ATLANTA — Despite achieving measles elimination in 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in its "Morbidity and Morality Weekly Report" that a total of 222 measles cases and 17 measles outbreaks were reported to the CDC last year, compared with a median of 60 cases and four outbreaks reported annually during the 2001-2010 period.
In the United States, the incidence of measles has reached a 15-year high, the CDC said.
"The increase in measles importations and outbreaks during 2011 serves as a reminder that measles remains endemic in many parts of the world and unvaccinated U.S. residents continue to place themselves and others in their communities at risk for measles and its complications," the MMWR said. The report added that the importation of measles is caused by U.S. travelers, particularly to the World Health Organization European Region, which reported more than 30,000 cases of measles, including 27 cases of measles encephalitis, a complication that often results in permanent neurologic sequelae, as well as eight measles-related deaths in 2011.
The CDC also noted that healthcare providers play a critical role in preventing measles and should should encourage vaccination of all eligible patients, including children and adults.
Click here for the full report.