This is a comeback that no one was hoping for: Measles, which in 2000 was declared eradicated in the United States, has infected dozens in California, Texas, and New York this year alone as more parents are opting out of vaccinating their children. The highly contagious disease kills about one in every 1,000 patients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. had 189 reported cases of measles in 2013; that's a small number compared to what was seen prior to the vaccine's introduction in 1967, but enough to make people worried. "We really don't want a child to die from measles, but it's almost inevitable," Anne Schuchat, director of immunizations and respiratory diseases at the CDC, tells USA Today. "Major resurgences of diseases can sneak up on us."
It's not just measles, either; cases of meningitis and pertussis (whooping cough) are persisting as well. The most vulnerable to these diseases are infants, children with compromised immune systems, and those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. As more children enter the school system without being vaccinated — in Idaho, Oregon, Illinois, Michigan, and Vermont, for example, 4.5 percent of kindergartners were not vaccinated for non-medical reasons — experts say the number of cases will continue to rise.
For the children who are hit by measles, pertussis, or meningitis, it's not like trying to shake off a cold. Meningitis can cause limbs to blacken and wither, leading to amputation and death. Brady Alcaide's infant body couldn't fight off whooping cough, and he died at 9 weeks, so swollen his mother decided to have a closed casket so as to not upset the family. Doctors have no idea where Brady contracted whooping cough. His mother, Kathryn Riffenburg, shared the details of her son's short life with USA Today, for this reason: "I hope Brady has saved babies and protected them because we have spread his story."
Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will debate in Flint, Michigan, on March 6, the Democratic National Committee announced Sunday. The city is grappling with an ongoing water crisis that has endangered residents' health.
"This debate is an opportunity to elevate the very serious issues facing the residents of Flint, and it's also an opportunity to remind voters what Democratic leadership can do for the economy — so that everyone in America has a fair shot," DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said.
Both candidates have drawn attention to Flint in recent months. Sanders has called on Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to resign. Clinton left the New Hampshire campaign trail Sunday to visit the city. Julie Kliegman
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders made a brief cameo on Saturday Night Live alongside host Larry David. The sketch featured the two men on a sinking ship, with David's character asserting that he should be saved due to his wealth. Sanders played Bernie Sanderswitzky, a nod to his Jewish upbringing, and labeled David's character as the 1 percent.
Watch the uncanny duo below. Julie Kliegman
Turkey is at capacity with accepting refugees, but will continue to do so as people flee Syria, the nation's deputy prime minister said Sunday, The Associated Press reports.
"In the end, these people have nowhere else to go," Numan Kurtulmuş said. "Either they will die beneath the bombings and Turkey will...watch the massacre like the rest of the world, or we will open our borders."
Turkey's border has been closed for three days as they provide aid to 35,000 Syrians on the other side. The nation has 3 million refugees, 2.5 million of whom fled Syria. The European Union has encouraged Turkey to host refugees, offering the nation 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in incentives to do so. Julie Kliegman
International powers condemned North Korea for defying international warnings Sunday by launching a long-range rocket that the United Nations and others believe is a cover for a test of a ballistic missile that could reach the United States mainland, The Washington Post reports. It comes a month after the rogue state claimed to have detonated a hydrogen bomb.
U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice called it "yet another destabilizing and provocative action" and "a flagrant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions." South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, Britain, France, and the European Union also condemned the launch, CNN reports.
The U.N. Security Council is set to hold an 11 a.m. emergency meeting in New York to go over a potential response to North Korea. Julie Kliegman
During Saturday night's Republican debate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he doesn't criticize President Obama's recent visit to a mosque, but believes he "continues to put out this fiction that there's widespread, systematic discrimination against Muslim Americans."
Rubio said he recognizes and honors Muslims who have fought in the military, but "by the same token, we face a very significant threat of homegrown violent extremism." He said Muslims need to report mosques that are "inciting violence against us," then said he knows a group that is actually suffering from discrimination: "We are facing in this country Christian groups and groups that hold traditional values who feel, and in fact are, being discriminated against by the laws of this country that try to force them to violate their conscious."
Rubio made his comments as he stood next to rival Donald Trump, who last year called for a ban on letting Muslims enter the United States. Trump didn't respond to Rubio's remarks, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did, saying he has long worked with Muslim American groups across New Jersey and knows they are "good, law abiding, hard working people. What they need is our cooperation and our understanding. They don't need broadsides against them because of the religious faith they practice." Catherine Garcia
At Saturday night's GOP debate, Ted Cruz opened up about his personal connection to the heroin epidemic in a moving moment that left the room quiet. In response to the moderators' question about how New Hampshire residents could know he stood with them on this key issue for the state, Cruz told the story of his half-sister's struggle with drug addiction and her death from a drug overdose.
"This is an absolute epidemic. We need leadership to solve it," Cruz said. "Solving it has to occur at the state and local level." He also promised a focus on securing the borders to stop the flow of drugs into the U.S.
Watch his full answer below. Becca Stanek
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 7, 2016
On the topic of waterboarding, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told the audience at Saturday's presidential debate it's not torture but "enhanced interrogation." For his part, Donald Trump said he'd come up with a technique that would put it to shame.
Because there are people "in the Middle East" who are "chopping the head off Christians," he would not only "bring back waterboarding," but he'd "bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding." Cruz declared that waterboarding "does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture," but he would not bring it "back in any sort of widespread use."
Jeb Bush said waterboarding was "used sparingly," but Congress has changed the laws and now, "I think where we stand is the appropriate place." Rubio warned that the candidates shouldn't talk about specific tactics, but did say he believed "we should be putting people into Guantanamo, not emptying it out." Catherine Garcia