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Arizona part of record-breaking number of US measles cases in 2019

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccines are seen in a cooler at the Rockland County Health Department in Pomona, N.Y., Wednesday, March 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

PHOENIX — A case of the measles in Arizona contributed to a record-breaking number of nationwide diagnoses so far in 2019.

The number of measles cases through the first three months of the year have surpassed the count for all of 2018, health officials say.

There have been 387 cases through March, including one in Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. There were 372 last year.

The numbers are preliminary, and may change. But the 2019 tally is already the most since 2014, when 667 were reported.

This year’s numbers have been driven by outbreaks in several states, including New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Washington.

Most people who get measles have not been vaccinated. The vaccine is 97% effective, according to the CDC.

In the U.S., most outbreaks are sparked by travelers who picked up the virus in countries where measles is more common.

The sole measles case in Arizona this year was attributed to an infant who was believed to have contracted the disease after traveling to Asia.

Measles is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and it is extremely contagious.

For most people, measles is miserable but not life-threatening.

The most common symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, and a rash all over the body.

However, a very small fraction of people get much sicker, and can suffer complications such as pneumonia and swelling of the brain. Measles can also cause pregnant women to deliver prematurely.

There have been three measles-related deaths reported in the U.S. since 2000, most recently in 2015.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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