The United States is on track to report its highest incidence of measles cases since 2001, exacerbated by a rise in outbreaks worldwide and by clusters of people who are opting out of the vaccine because of religious beliefs or fears of a purported link between the shot and autism, health officials said Thursday.
As of April 25, there were 64 reported cases of measles nationwide this year, including 12 in San Diego. One in five cases required hospitalization, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were about 30 cases of measles in all of 2007.
Before the advent of federally funded vaccine programs in the last decade, outbreaks spread quickly among low-income children who lacked access to vaccinations.