Sep 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden adds measles to list of diseases that could require quarantine

President Joe Biden participates in a conference call on climate change with the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Friday to add measles to a list of communicable diseases that could require quarantine.

Why it matters: After having practically eradicated measles from the U.S. almost two decades ago, a growing anti-vaccination movement has led to a resurgence of the highly contagious virus in recent years.

  • Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency in 2019 after multi-county cases caused a "public disaster." The nearby city of Portland, Oregon, was also concerned, as there had been dozens of possible exposure locations, ranging from a Portland Trail Blazers game to a children's museum.
  • In 2018, there were 349 cases reported in 26 states and Washington, D.C., including outbreaks in New York and New Jersey.

Of note: Flights carrying Afghan refugees to the United States were temporarily paused because of four cases of measles, the White House said last week.

  • Health officials are exploring the option of administering vaccines, including measles, mumps and rubella, at overseas bases where thousands of evacuees are currently awaiting transfer.

Go deeper: U.S. measles cases mount as anti-vaccine influence goes unchecked

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