The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are no reported measles cases in Georgia, despite a rise in instances of the disease nationwide.As heard on the radio
The CDC said Thursday 288 measles cases have been reported in the U.S. since January. It’s the largest number since the disease was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, and the most cases year-to-date in 20 years.
CDC Division of Viral Diseases Deputy Director Jane Seward said the higher-than-usual numbers are the result of a big measles outbreak in the Philippians, where about half the U.S. cases originated.
“A lot of people are going overseas, and they’re not protected. And then they come back and spread it to other unprotected people,” she said.
Eliminated doesn’t mean people in the U.S. can’t still catch the disease, only that the virus isn’t transmitted continuously over the 12 months of the year. But because the disease still exists in other countries, the virus can be carried into the country via travelers, sometimes causing small outbreaks.
The last time the U.S. saw this many cases in the first five months of the year was 1994, when 746 measles cases were reported. That year ended with 963 cases.
This year in the Southeast, there’s been one case of measles in Alabama and five in Tennessee.
With summer travel season approaching, Seward said the CDC expects the number of cases to increase in the coming months.
“You can get measles in Europe,” Seward said. “You can get measles in London, in Paris, in Italy, in a number of countries in Europe, and people don’t realize that.”