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The incidence of measles in the United States increased sharply to 1,759 reported cases during the first 26 weeks of 1984, compared with 1,095 cases during the comparable period of 1983, according to the national Centers for Disease Control.

Federal health officials, however, were quick to point out that although the number of measles cases had increased 60.6 percent compared with the same period in 1983, the total is still far below that in the prevaccine era, when an average of more than 525,000 cases were reported annually.

In addition, the cdc noted in the Sept. 7 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that al3though the overall incidence rate increased, the number of states reporting measles decreased during the first half of 1984 compared with the same period in 1983. Twenty-four states reported no cases of measles in the first half of 1984, while 22 states and the District of Columbia reported none during the first half of 1983.

Among children 10 to 14 years old, the number of cases increased more than twofold during the first half of 1984, compared with all of 1983, according to the report. In the first 26 weeks of this year, there6were 515 reported cases of measles among children in this age group, compared with 195 cases for the entire previous year.

"Greater emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring that persons 10-14 years old and 15-19 years old have evidence of measles immunity," the cdc strongly suggested. "Enactment and vigorous enforcement of regulations requiring all students in grades kindergarten through 12 to have evidence of immunity is an important means of ensuring high levels of measles immunity."

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