Florida, You're Not Alone With Your Measles Issues

Cases of the technically eradicated disease in the US have popped up in at least 16 states
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2024 10:00 AM CST
Uptick in US Measles Cases 'Boggles the Mind'
Stock photo of a child receiving an MMR shot.   (Getty Images/Ed Maynard)

Florida isn't the only place where measles seems to be making a comeback. CDC stats as of Thursday show a total of 41 cases around the US, in 16 states and growing (click here for a current list). CBS News notes that these numbers "mark one of the steepest increases in recent history of the virus at this time of the year." Florida claims the most cases so far in 2024. The highly contagious illness was deemed eliminated from the US in 2000, though travelers still bring the disease in, per the CDC.

  • Primer: The Washington Post offers an overview of the sometimes deadly infection, including signs, symptoms, and how well the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine works. One dose is 93% effective at preventing measles, while a double shot offers 97% effectiveness, per the CDC.
  • Vaccine wariness: Per Roll Call, the latest measles spread can be partly attributed to "post-pandemic vaccine lag," by individuals who are either hesitant about vaccines or against them altogether. "It sort of boggles the mind as a pediatrician," says Jesse Hackell, head of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine. "I never want to go back to practicing medicine like it's the 1950s."
  • Slam on Florida's top doc: One prominent person accused of disseminating "anti-vaccine sentiment": Joseph Ladapo, the Sunshine State's surgeon general, who hasn't sent any messaging encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated amid the outbreak there. He has also said unvaccinated kids could return to a South Florida elementary school where the state's outbreak began. Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants Ladapo to step down, per the Hill.
  • Calling Canada: The CBC notes that the illness may also "be quietly spreading" up north, with at least nine confirmed cases this year so far in the Great White North. Two recent cases, in Ontario and Quebec, weren't believed to be linked to travel.
  • Re-up that vax? If you think you're safe from measles because you were vaccinated long ago, doctors offer a warning—if you were born in the '70s and '80s, the vaccine you received may have worn off, necessitating a vaccine boost, reports FOX 13.
(More measles stories.)

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