[Fox News] Georgia health officials link third measles case to unvaccinated international traveler

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The Georgia Department of Public Health on Thursday confirmed a third case of measles in an unvaccinated individual who traveled internationally.

The individual was traveling with an international group of students and does not live in the United States, officials said. The individual has been isolated and is receiving treatment at a local hospital, according to the department.

“DPH is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify and contact anyone who may have been exposed to the individual and to prevent further spread of measles,” officials said.

Health experts are concerned by an alarming increase in measles outbreaks in the U.S., which are already double the total of all last year.

US MEASLES CASES ARE UP IN 2024. WHAT’S DRIVING THE INCREASE? 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 113 total cases as of April 5, 2024, with a new update expected Friday. More than half of these cases, 65, have resulted in hospitalization for isolation or management of measles  complications, according to the CDC. 

Of those infected, 83% were not vaccinated, or their vaccination status was unknown. Twelve percent had one MMR dose, and 5% received two MMR doses. 

Although cases appear to be on the rise, they have not yet reached the highs of previous years: 2014 saw 667 cases and 2019 had 1,274.

The CDC report noted that cases in the firs three months of this year were 17 times higher than the average number seen in the first three months of the previous three years. 

CDC ISSUES MEASLES ALERT AS 2024 CASES HAVE ALREADY EQUALED ALL OF 2023

Once thought to have been eradicated in the U.S., measles is still common in other parts of the world, particularly the Middle East and Africa. The CDC in a report released Thursday attributed the recent rise in cases to unvaccinated Americans who traveled abroad and brought the disease home with them.

Health officials have confirmed measles cases in 17 states so far this year, including cases in New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago.

More than half of this year’s cases come from the Chicago outbreak, where 61 people have contracted the virus as of Thursday, largely among people who lived in a migrant shelter.

CDC ISSUES BIRD FLU HEALTH ALERT TO CLINICIANS, STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENTS, PUBLIC AFTER TEXAS FARMER INFECTED

The New York City health department said Thursday that cases are on the decline after officials administered 14,000 vaccines in just over a month.

The CDC describes measles as a “highly contagious viral illness” that “can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and death, especially in unvaccinated persons.” 

“To prevent measles infection and reduce the risk of community transmission from importation, all U.S. residents traveling internationally, regardless of destination, should be current on their MMR vaccinations,” the agency said in an alert issued last month. “Healthcare providers should ensure children are current on routine immunizations, including MMR.” 

Fox News Digital’s Greg Norman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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