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Measles Increase Worldwide But Remain Low In Mountain West

UN Ukraine
Measles is a very contagious disease but can be prevented with a vaccination.

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that measles cases around the world increased by 31 percent from 2016 to 2017.

While the U.S. saw an increase of almost 40 percent during that period, only two states in the Mountain West region reported measles cases. Colorado had one each year, and Utah had no cases in 2016 and three the following year.

Both Colorado and Utah, as well as Idaho, join more than 15 states that allow a philosophical exemption for childhood vaccinations in addition to medical and religious ones.

"We keep an eye out for cases," said Jeffrey Eason, assistant manager for the Communicable Disease Response Program at the Utah Department of Health. "When we do find them, we work really quickly to vaccinate people around those cases to keep them from becoming infected."

According to the CDC, travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S. The best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated before being exposed, Eason said.

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