So far the 2019 measles outbreak is reaching the highest number of cases they have seen in 25 years. The United States is currently experiencing its worst outbreak of measles since the disease was considered eliminated in 2000.

So far, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting 940 confirmed cases of measles across 26 states.

New York is seeing it the worst, with more new cases reported weekly than any other state. The majority of the people who have contracted measles during this outbreak were unvaccinated.

These outbreaks are linked to travelers who brought measles to the United States from other countries where large measles outbreaks are occurring.

Currently we have travel warnings for Brazil, Israel, Ukraine, Japan and the Philippines where large measles outbreaks are occurring.

When an infected traveler with measles passes through high transit areas like the airport, the measles virus will linger in the air for up to two hours and will infect on average eighteen people.

This year there have been measles exposure reported at four major airports in the U.S. Infected travelers have been found at Newark International, Los Angeles International, San Francisco International, and just last week at Dallas-Fort Worth International. Infected travelers continue to bring the disease into the U.S. where it can spread when it reaches a community where there are unvaccinated people.

The CDC recommends that anyone who is planning international travel this summer to take every precaution to ensure you are safe from the measles virus.

They suggest that you keep your hands clean by frequent washing or carry a bottle of hand sanitizer.

Also be aware of the high contact areas such as the seat back tray tables, armrests and kiosks.

Most importantly, be sure you are vaccinated against measles. Just two doses of the measles vaccine received within twenty-eight days provide ninety-seven percent protection against contracting the disease.

Just one dose provides ninety-three percent protection whereas zero doses provide a one-hundred percent chance of contracting measles.

Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health are urging people to get vaccinated.

“While no cases have been reported in Louisiana, it is important to protect yourself and loved ones from the disease,” said Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary for the Office of Public Health. “Prevention is key and the best prevention is vaccination.”

The Louisiana Department of Health reports that 97.33 percent of kindergarten students enrolled in public school for the 2018-2019 school year were vaccinated in Vernon Parish and 95.63 percent in Beauregard Parish.

Additionally, 88.64 percent of kindergarten students enrolled in private schools in Vernon Parish had a completed immunization record.

Beauregard Parish did not report their numbers to the Louisiana Department of Health for private school students.

A completed kindergarten enrollment immunization record includes the following vaccines: 4+ DTaP vaccines; 3+ Polio vaccines; 2+ MMR vaccines; 3+ Hepatitis B vaccines; and 2+ Varicella vaccines