Doctors at a north suburban hospital were expected to launch a major push Tuesday to get people vaccinated against measles after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning of large outbreaks near major U.S. cities.
Doctors at Advocate Children's Hospital in Park Ridge called the initiative to immunize patients, particularly children, critical - as the country has already seen more measles cases in the first few months of 2019 than all of the previous year.
Between Jan. 1 and April 4, 465 individual cases of measles were confirmed across 19 states, the CDC said Monday, marking the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since the infection was eliminated in 2000.
The states that have reported cases include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington, according to the CDC.
The CDC specifically warned of outbreaks in major metropolitan areas, including New York City and Detroit, Michigan, as well as Washington state and two counties in California.
As of April 8, Michigan has seen 41 total measles cases statewide, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in patients ranging from 8 months old to 63 years of age.
The outbreaks highlighted by the CDC are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries, including Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines, where large outbreaks of the infection are occurring.
Health officials said the majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated, urging the public to get vaccinations, particularly before traveling internationally.
In Illinois, just 9 percent of schools have 100 percent of their students vaccinated, according to state data compiled by WBEZ radio. Dozens of schools in and around Chicago have below 90 percent of their student population vaccinated.
That's why doctors are pushing hard to educate about the disease and promote vaccinations. Advocate Children’s Hospital was expected to hold a press conference about the initiative Tuesday afternoon.