The number of confirmed measles cases across the U.S. has reached 839, and the country is experiencing its worst outbreak of the disease since 1994.
The crisis is hitting New York the hardest; 66 of the new cases have been reported there, according to CNBC. Forty-one of those were reported in New York City, which in April announced mandatory vaccinations in Brooklyn and declared a public health emergency within parts of the borough.
Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee and Washington are also reporting cases.
The CDC has linked outbreaks ― which are defined as three or more cases ― in seven states to “travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines, where large measles outbreaks are occurring.”
Measles was declared eliminated in 2000 and is preventable with immunizations, the agency notes, but it can be spread within communities containing groups of unvaccinated people.
Certain parents have also refused to vaccinate their children based on the spread of misinformation surrounding the effects of immunizations. Online platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Amazon’s Prime video-streaming service have recently attempted to crack down on vaccine-related falsehoods, blocking hashtags and removing content promoted by so-called anti-vaxxers. Other parents may decline to immunize their children for religious reasons or because of health complications.
The CDC says measles is most concerning in adults older than 20 and children younger than 5. As many as 1 in 20 children who contract measles develops pneumonia, and between 1 and 2 out of every 1,000 children with measles will die, the agency says.