The number of cases of measles in the United States in 2014 has already doubled compared to the total number of cases seen during 2013. On Tuesday, Utah’s first case of the respiratory illness was confirmed by the Utah Department of Health, adding to the growing number of cases seen since the illness was eliminated from the U.S. 14 years ago.
The Utah case was confirmed in an adult from the southeastern part of the state last month. Health educator with the Utah Department of Health, Rebecca Ward, said the individual picked up the illness while traveling in Europe with only one dose of the measles vaccine. Two doses are recommended for full protection.
“As we often say, many of these diseases are just a plane ride away," Ward said. "Because it is very easy to get on a plane and go somewhere where other diseases, not just measles, are still epidemic.”
According to the CDC, nearly all of the U.S. cases were brought in from people visiting other countries. 397 cases of the illness have been seen across the nation so far this year.
Ward recommends adults make sure their vaccines are up to date. Previous recommendations for people born before 1957 suggested one dose of the vaccine, but that’s changing.
“The mindset now [is] that we’re sort of thinking that one dose is good, but the two doses is better,” Ward said. “You’re going to get much more protection with the two doses.”
The last time the state saw a case of measles was in 2012.