Sep 23, 2013 7:40 PM by Joe Bevans
LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Two infants in Michigan have contracted measles this year, putting the state among the 16 states with confirmed cases of the viral disease, health officials said Monday. There were 159 cases reported nationally as of Aug. 24, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It said that's well above the average of 60 cases a year reported in 2001-2012. Measles, a once-common childhood disease, is preventable through vaccination. The CDC said at least 82 percent of those infected this year weren't vaccinated. "Measles is highly contagious and is by no means a trivial disease. It can result in hospitalization, pneumonia, encephalitis, and death," Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Community Health, said in a statement. "Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles outbreaks from occurring and to prevent this disease from spreading widely in our communities," he said. The two Michigan cases involved children under 12 months old, the state agency said. It said both infants caught measles outside the U.S. and have recovered. A third suspected case of measles in Michigan awaits confirmation, the department said. The first of two routine childhood measles vaccine is given at 12 months, but the agency said recommendations call for infants as young as 6 months old who will be traveling outside of the U.S. to be vaccinated against measles.