Back in January, the World Health Organisation called the anti-vax movement the “biggest threat to global health in 2019.” And three months into the year, the number of measles cases in the U.S has already topped the count for the whole of 2018.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 387 cases of measles in March alone, while there were only 372 cases all of last year.
Although these are preliminary figures, the amount of cases in 2019 is the highest for five years. The last time the disease took hold like this was in 2014, when 667 cases were reported.
This year there have already been outbreaks in a number of states including New York, Illnois, California, Washington and Texas.
The majority of sufferers have not been vaccinated, and in the U.S many outbreaks triggered by travellers from countries where measles is still common. The extremely virus is airborne, and spread via coughing and sneezing.
Last year, almost 83,000 people across Europe contracted the disease, the highest number in ten years according to the WHO.
This is despite the vaccine being 97% effective.
The bulk of those infected will feel awful, but recover, with symptoms including diarrhoea and vomiting, earache, fits caused by a high temprature and laryngitus.
However, serious complications can include pneumonia, meningitus and hepatitus, as well as life-long issues with sight, the nervous system and brain.