Measles cases rose by 300% globally between January and March

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference in Brooklyn N.Y

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference in Brooklyn N.Y

In recent weeks, measles has spread from 15 to 20 states.

With the help of rabbinical leaders and a longtime member of the local Hatzolah chapter - who thought to look for the man's blue rental sedan among the community's multitude of minivans - they found the man, who was stunned by the diagnosis.

The challenge for U.S. health authorities is stopping the outbreak from spreading further. As of Monday, New York City has confirmed 329 measles cases, almost all in Brooklyn, since the outbreak began in October. Measles was declared eliminated in the 2000 thanks to the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. All but one of the cases were reported in Oakland County.

An outbreak in the state of MI - where 39 cases have been reported - has been traced to a single person, according to The Washington Post.

In Clark County, Washington, the measles outbreak is concentrated among a Russian-speaking community.

Measles can be serious for all age groups, but it is most risky for children under 5 and adults over 70.

"This outbreak is being fuelled by a small group of anti-vaxxers in these neighbourhoods", Health Department and Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot wrote in a statement last week. It's the city's largest measles outbreak since 1991.

Parents in New York's Rockland County filed lawsuits after health officials there barred unvaccinated children from schools and then filed again after officials banned them from public spaces.

Since the beginning of 2019, 555 cases of measles have been confirmed in the United States, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Infections have also increased in wealthy countries with high overall immunisation rates, such as the United States and Israel. In 2000, health officials announced that they had rid the country of measles.

Measles is a highly infectious viral illness that can lead to serious health complications - including infections of the lungs and brain - and even death.

Health officials say there are two main reasons for the virus's surge: more global travel and lower vaccination rates.

There have been outbreaks previously, for example, among the Amish community in OH in 2014 and Somali immigrants in Minnesota in 2017.

"It is an individual and communal responsibility to work together in the effort to prevent harmful diseases from spreading".

"And that is what's slowed this outbreak down", he said.

The measles epidemic spreading across the United States arrived in MI last month after a man travelled from NY to raise money for charity, health officials have said. "Need we wait for some one to die?" said Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

Authorities have also warned about "measles parties", a supposed phenomenon where antivaxxers deliberately expose children to the measles virus so they can build immunity.

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