House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Friday afternoon that the House is no longer reporting new cases of the measles since healthcare workers accidentally exposed nearly 400 lawmakers and their staff to the disease last month.
The Speaker did not say why that change had been made.
In April, more than 400 healthcare workers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a facility that houses U.S. military veterans, took a few respiratory samples from people who were infected with a respiratory disease known as coughptococcus pneumonia. The CDC announced that the people who came into contact with the infections were members of the House, Senate and members of President Trump’s administration.
While the House and Senate have reported just two cases of the disease since, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that more than 300 members of Congress and their staffs were inadvertently exposed to the measles.
No new cases have been reported since after the House released information to House counsel and the general counsel for each of the committees in the House in the wake of the virus’ existence and an announcement of a cease and desist order from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Ryan said of those new infections, “I apologize, but to all of us, our offices are keeping an eye on those staffers who had contacts with the healthcare workers to see if they are ill. In a very few cases, it is possible they’ve been re-exposed, but at this point they don’t appear to be, and that will continue to be the case,” he said.
Measles is a contagious disease that the CDC says was “eradicated in the United States in 2000 thanks to immunization.” Unfortunately, the CDC reports that “late last year, the measles, mumps, and rubella virus re-emerged as a public health threat in the United States.”
The CDC reports that “The majority of measles infections occur in countries in the Americas. Measles can also travel to the United States through imported travelers.”
The lack of a vaccine for the virus has turned measles back into a public health threat, the CDC reports, especially in parts of the world where vaccination rates are low.
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