As measles cases rise across the United States, lawmakers are meeting in a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill this morning to discuss what has been called 'a growing public health threat.'
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will be holding the hearing, which will include talks around response efforts to the current measles outbreak.
There have been 159 individual cases of measles confirmed across 10 states so far this year: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington, according to a new report released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.
Measles is a potentially deadly respiratory illness caused by the measles virus, and symptoms typically include high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes, and a rash of flat red spots. The virus spreads through coughing and sneezing and can live in the air for up to two hours after an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Measles previously was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, following a measles vaccination program. Elimination is defined by no continuous disease transmissions occurring for greater than 12 months.