Despite near-elimination of measles in U.S., international travel presents risks, study finds

CDC says 'virtually all' 2013 U.S. measles cases linked to foreign travel

NEW YORK — While a vaccine against measles has been available for 50 years, the disease remains a threat in the United States, particularly when acquired by children entering the country from abroad, according to a new report.

In an article published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, CDC researcher Mark Papania wrote that measles in the United States had been eliminated through 2011, but that importation continues. American doctors should suspect children have measles if they have a high fever and rash, especially if they have traveled abroad or are visiting from abroad.

Measles was a year-round threat in the country before the vaccination program started in 1963. Today, 430 children die from it worldwide every day, and there were an estimated 158,000 deaths in 2011, while one-in-five children with the disease is hospitalized. There were 175 cases in the United States in 2013, virtually all linked to foreign travel.

"A measles outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere," CDC director Tom Frieden said. "The steady arrival of measles in the United States is a constant reminder that deadly diseases are testing our health security every day."


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