U.S. measles declines sharply again; school lunch tax tied to lower soda consumption

Measles can’t hold steady at 100 in the U. S. last year – just 340 in the past month – but a decline in cases seen since a mandatory school-lunch tax was started in 23 states in July prompted the Food and Drug Administration last month to revisit its guidance.

In the past week, the agency announced the first drop in cases since the mid-July surge, a rise that it attributed in part to an expanded vaccination schedule in many states.

CDC director Robert Redfield attributed much of the drop to an increased movement of families to measles vaccinations groups, proximity of places that people interact for religious and community events, or an increased awareness of the need for inoculations.

The CDC also said in its statement that the agency was encouraged to see “significant” declines in measles-related cases among white children, but there’s no endgame for the disease.

In a May 9 memo to health officials, Redfield said he favored a uniform approach to tackling measles that rolled out to parents every two weeks. Redfield told the U. S. Senate Health Committee last month that he would not want to bring back any measles outbreaks in the U. S.

Despite the occasional decline, medical experts hope the resurgence continues.

“We have not seen that in a long time, ” said Shricki Vadani, a professor of public health at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who studies the measles. Bloodborne diseases like measles are stronger in more rural states.

During the same period in 2016, the CDC reported 9, 348 confirmed measles cases, an 18% decrease from 2016, according to data released last week by the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A recent spike in measles outbreaks prompted the Obama administration in September 2018 to use a money-bombing income-tax credit for states to spend there and avoid a massive measles-vaccine shortfall.