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World Health Organization (WHO) leaders are predicting half of the world will be at high risk of measles outbreaks by the end of the year unless preventive measures ramp up quickly. Measles cases have been increasing across the world mostly because of missed vaccinations, and cases last year increased 79%, according to WHO data reported by Reuters. The measles virus is highly contagious and mostly affects children under 5 years old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 5 unvaccinated people in the U.S. who gets measles is hospitalized. As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, which is the most common cause of death from measles in young children. Nearly 1 to 3 of every 1,000 children who become infected with measles will die from respiratory and neurologic complications.

States in the crosshairs: The Florida Department of Health is reporting 10 cases of measles, with 7 linked to an outbreak in a single elementary school. At least one U.S. Congresswoman who represents Florida is calling for a public health emergency in the region. Elsewhere, in Philadelphia, health department officials said 6 of the people who were hospitalized recently with measles have now been released. As of February 22, 2024, a total of 35 measles cases were reported by 15 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

Measles Outbreaks Prompt Calls For Action