measles outbreak
Reactions to the spread are mixed, though most appear to blame the outbreak on this “liberty” to say no to vaccinations. Pictured: Children's doctor Juergen Hochfeld chats with a mother and her 11-month-old daughter Tijana prior to injecting Tijana with a vaccine against measles. Getty Images/Sean Gallup

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Wednesday that the number of measles cases in the US has surpassed 1,000 this year. According to the agency, it is the highest number of measles cases reported in the country in 27 years.

If the outbreak continues, the country might lose its status on measels elimination. The state and local health officials have been urging people to get vaccinated to prevent themselves from this “dangerous and contagious” disease.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of CDC, said measles is a preventable disease. The best way to end this outbreak is by ensuring that all the children and adults “who can get vaccinated, do get vaccinated”. The director also reassured parents that all the vaccines for measles are safe and do not cause autism.

“The greater danger is the disease the vaccination prevents. Your decision to vaccinate will protect your family’s health and your community’s well-being. CDC will continue working with public health responders across our nation to bring this outbreak to an end,” he said in a statement.

Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services also said the total number of measles cases reported in the country could have been reduced by giving vaccines to the people at the right time.

“The 1,000th case of a preventable disease like measles is a troubling reminder of how important that work is to the public health of the nation,” he said.

Azar also said the agency has been stressing on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, “amid concerning signs that there are pockets of undervaccination around the country”. According to him, his agency had been repeatedly reminding people that the measles vaccines are being safely given to millions of adults and children every year.

“We cannot say this enough: Vaccines are a safe and highly effective public health tool that can prevent this disease and end the current outbreak,” he added.

Azar described measles as an “incredibly contagious and dangerous disease”. According to him, people should talk to their doctor about the type of vaccines that can protect them from measles.