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U.S. measles cases in 2019 highest since 1994

FILE PHOTO: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) – The United States recorded 971 cases of measles in the first five months of 2019, surpassing the total for any year since 1994, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

There were a total of 963 U.S. cases of measles in 1994, the CDC said in a statement.

Public health officials blame the resurgence on the spread of misinformation about vaccines. A vocal fringe of parents opposes vaccines, believing, contrary to scientific studies, that ingredients in them can cause autism.

Although the virus was eliminated from the United States in 2000, meaning the disease was no longer a constant presence, outbreaks still happen because of travelers from countries where measles is common, the CDC said.

Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang

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