Measles outbreak spreads to 21 states, infecting more than 100 people

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MIAMI, FL – JANUARY 28: In this photo illustration, a bottle containing a measles vaccine is seen at the Miami Children’s Hospital on January 28, 2015 in Miami, Florida. A recent outbreak of measles has some doctors encouraging vaccination as the best way to prevent measles and its spread. (Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an outbreak of Measles has now spread to 21 states with 107 reported illnesses so far.

The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.

The year 2018 is on pace to become one of the worst years for measles since 2014 when 667 contracted the airborne virus. The 2014 outbreak was the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the United States in 2000.

The CDC says measles spreads easily when it reaches a community where groups of people are unvaccinated. It’s spread through coughing and sneezing, and symptoms show up in 10 to 14 days after exposure.

Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected.

Measles starts with fever and then causes a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. It can be deadly and cause brain swelling.

The CDC says measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine, which children usually get between 12 and 15 months of age. A second dose is usually given between the ages of 4 and 6. The MMR vaccine is said to be 97% effective at preventing measles.

There are currently no reported cases in Virginia. The states with confirmed cases are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, and Washington D.C.

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