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Measles outbreak raises concern among health officials

Published: Nov. 13, 2021 at 12:11 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 13, 2021 at 6:34 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The CDC issued a warning concerning a global outbreak of the measles after 22 million babies missed their vaccines during the pandemic.

The CDC said measles kill more than 60,000 people around the world a year, mostly young children.

”Disruptions from things like the COVID pandemic can be really dangerous over a short period of time,” Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Adam Ratner said.

Known as one of the most contagious viruses, the measles were declared eliminated in the U.S. by 2000, largely due to vaccines.

However, travelers can bring the virus into the U.S. and spread it among unvaccinated people.

While reported measles cases dropped in 2020, the CDC said there were nearly 1,300 cases reported in 2019. With missed vaccinations, the risk of outbreaks is growing around the world.

“With just the measles vaccine alone over the past 20 years, the estimate is about 32 million lives saved, but none of that is a guarantee,” Ratner said.

In the U.S., children get two doses of the measles vaccine, the first around one-year-old and the second shot between the ages of four and six.

Symptoms appear one to two weeks after contact with the virus and include high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes. A rash appears three to five days after the first symptoms.

U.S. health officials said measles vaccines are key to keeping everyone safe.

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