Across the globe, the number of cases has increased 300% to more than 112,000 cases in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 28,000 at this time a year ago.
Alistair McGregor, associate professor of microbial pathogenesis and immunology, said there has been a notable increase in reported cases of measles in the country. The Ministry of Health recently highlighted that since 2012, all cases of measles in New Zealand came from travellers bringing the disease from overseas and that there are now significant measles outbreaks in many countries.
The organisation noted that actual cases always surpass reported cases, meaning the early trends for 2019 likely underestimate the severity of the outbreaks.
No fatalities have been reported in the United States from measles this year or last year, but 35 people in European Union countries died of the disease in 2018, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
A spike in case numbers was also reported for the U.S. and Thailand with relatively high levels of vaccination coverage. As a measles epidemic continues to spread, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a state of emergency and mandated residents of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg at the center of the outbreak to get vaccinated for the viral disease.
This means there are "many people who are adults now who only received one dose" of MMR, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.
He urged parents to ensure their children receive their free routine MMR immunisations on time at 15 months and four years of age. "We are in an emergency situation".
"We don't think the so-called "outbreak" has reached a level that requires the extreme response of forcing vaccinations", said Robert Krakow, a Manhattan attorney specializing in vaccine injury lawsuits. The 329 account for numerous nation's 555 cases in 2019.
Measles - an airborne infection causing fever, coughing and rashes that can be deadly in rare cases - had been officially eliminated in many countries with advanced healthcare systems. It has not mutated to become more infectious or more unsafe.
They added: "More than 20 million lives have been saved through measles vaccination since the year 2000 alone".
Health officials have confirmed 329 cases of measles in the city and 184 cases in Rockland since the outbreak of the highly contagious disease began in October.
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