Why measles are back, and how the illness spreads

CNN

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Cases of the highly contagious virus the measles are on the rise.

In 2014, a record 644 measles infections showed up in 27 states, including Massachusetts, which is the most cases in the U.S in one year since the virus was reportedly eliminated in 2000.

This month, more than 50 measles cases have shown up in four different states in the western half of the country.

Now that same outbreak connected to California’s Disneyland, has some folks here in Springfield concerned more cases could pop up closer to home.

“I mean with people traveling and everything, and getting on airplanes, I would be really concerned of it spreading,” Kijuana Middlebrooks, from Springfield, said.

Chris Nelson, also from Springfield, told 22News, “It concerns me for, yeah, for people who haven’t been vaccinated, that it could spread to this side of the country, and more importantly that it could spread to the kids in the school system.”

Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 22News that the virus is so contagious, 90% of people who are not immune and are close to a person with measles, will also become infected.

They also said that measles lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.  The virus can live for up to two hours on a surface or in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed.

The CDC also sent 22News the following statement:

“Measles no longer circulates year round in the United States. However, measles continues to be brought into this country by unvaccinated Americans or foreign visitors who get measles while they’re abroad.”

The CDC says the best way to protect against measles is to get the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine.

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