Measles Cases on the Rise in U.S., Highest in 15 Years

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According to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 118 cases of measles have been reported in the United States for the January-May period, the highest increase since 1996. Though none was reported in Idaho, two cases were confirmed in Washington, one in Oregon, one in Nevada and multiple incidents were reported in Utah.

Eighty-nine percent of the cases stemmed from importation of the disease. The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said travelers, especially those to Europe and Southeast Asia, are primarily to blame. All but one of the cases involved individuals who were unvaccinated. None of the reported cases were fatal, though 40 percent required hospitalization and nine patients got pneumonia.

Measles, still considered the most deadly of all childhood fever illnesses, had been considered eliminated from the United States in the late 1990s, but the same isn't true for the rest of the planet. France, for example, reported 10,000 cases and six deaths during the first four months of 2011.