CDC raising concerns over increasing number of measles cases

Michigan allows parents to opt out of vaccinating children

The measles outbreak in Washington state is spreading, and now there are at least nine states with cases.

Michigan has not been impacted yet, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning the outbreak is only expected to get worse.

Washington is facing the highest number of infections there in over two decades and more cases are popping up across the United States.

"Americans who travel abroad might be surprised to find out that a number of the countries where measles is being transmitted are countries that would be surprising to them," Dr. Nancy Messonnier the director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said.

Health officials traced the outbreak in Washington to an unvaccinated international traveler and they said they're seeing about five new cases each day.

In New York, health officials have seen more than 200 cases since October. Most of those impacted are within Jewish communities linked to travel to Israel.

Health officials said groups with low vaccination rates are most at risk.

"Americans who are unvaccinated put themselves, their families and their communities at risk for measles," Messonnier said. "There aren't any other alternatives to vaccination. The best way to stop this outbreak in its tracks is to make sure that everybody gets vaccinated."

There are 18 states that allow parents to opt out of vaccines if they have personal, moral or philosophical objections to them. That includes Michigan.

About the Authors:

Devin Scillian

Devin Scillian is equally at home on your television, on your bookshelf, and on your stereo. Devin anchors the evening newscasts for Local 4. Additionally, he moderates Flashpoint, Local 4's Sunday morning news program. He is also a best-selling author of children's books, and an award-winning musician and songwriter.

Kayla Clarke

Kayla is a web producer with an English degree from Michigan State University. Before joining the ClickOnDetroit team in 2018, she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.