Maine becomes 25th U.S. state caught up in measles outbreak

Credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

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May 22 (Reuters) - Medical authorities in Maine on Wednesday confirmed the state's first measles infection in two years, making it the 25th state to report cases of the disease.

The United States is experiencing its worst measles outbreak in a quarter of a century. Earlier this week, federal health officials reported 880 people had contracted the disease.

The child who was afflicted with measles in Maine in recent weeks was vaccinated, did not have any complications and has fully recovered, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The agency said it informed the facilities where potential exposure to the disease occurred and is working with them to ensure other people who were potentially exposed are notified.

Health experts say the virus has spread across the nation among school-age children whose parents declined to give them the vaccine, which confers immunity to the disease. A vocal fringe of U.S. parents cite concerns the vaccine may cause autism, despite scientific studies that have debunked such claims.

Although the virus was eliminated from the United States in 2000, meaning the disease was no longer a constant presence, outbreaks still happen via travelers coming from countries where measles is still common, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Paul Simao)

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