Special Report

The Biggest Public Health Problems of 2018

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11. Measles

As of November 3, 2018, 220 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 26 states and the District of Columbia. This is more than the total of every year since 2010, except for 2014 when 667 cases of the viral infection were confirmed. It’s so contagious because it spreads through the air via coughing and sneezing. A measles outbreak has been raging in Europe, with more than 41,000 infected up to July alone. Most of the people who got measles, both in the U.S. and Europe, were not vaccinated.

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12. Surge in anti-vaccination movement

Opposition to vaccines is not a new phenomenon, but recent research shows it is on the rise, specifically against the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Part of the reason for the increased opposition is that a lot of information — some of which is not verified in any scientific way — is accessible to the layman, shifting power from the doctor to the patient.

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13. Heart disease

Cardiovascular disease is still the No. 1 killer in America. As the underlying cause of death, it accounts for about 850,000 deaths in the United States alone — about 1 of every 3 deaths. Nearly 2,300 Americans die of heart disease every day; on average, this is one death every 38 seconds.

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14. Hepatitis A

More than 2,500 cases of hepatitis A were reported to the CDC between January 2017 and June 2018. The vaccine-preventable, highly contagious liver infection is most common among homeless individuals and people with substance use disorders. Most of the cases are in the Midwest — Michigan, Indiana, Ohio — and some states in the South — Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina.

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