Measles Cases Continue to Rise in US

Troy Brown, RN

March 14, 2019

Measles outbreaks have been reported in six states, and confirmed cases have been reported in 12 others, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on measles cases from January 1 to March 7.

So far this year, 228 individual cases have been reported, compared with 372 during 2018. Measles cases also topped 200 during 2014 (667 cases) and 2011 (220 cases). In 2000, the CDC declared that the disease had been eliminated in the United States.

Measles outbreaks — three or more cases — have been reported in Rockland County, New York; New York City; Washington; Texas; Illinois; and California.

The CDC has also received reports of confirmed measles cases in 12 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.


Six outbreaks are related to travelers who became infected in other countries where large numbers of measles cases are occurring, such as Israel and the Ukraine. In 2018, 82 individuals brought the disease from other countries. "This is the greatest number of imported cases since measles was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000," the CDC reports.

As of March 13, 146 confirmed cases of measles had been reported in Rockland County, New York, for 2018-2019. With respect to those cases, 82.1% of patients had received no measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Vaccination status was unknown for 10%.

In New York City, the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens have had 158 confirmed cases since October, most of which "have involved members of the Orthodox Jewish community," according to a report from New York City. Some cases were acquired during travel to Israel, and some individuals were infected in Brooklyn or Rockland County.

In Washington State, 71 confirmed measles cases have been reported in Clark County, and one case had occurred in King County as of March 12.

Eleven cases have been reported in Texas: four in Harris County and one each in Bell, Collin, Denton, Galveston, Guadalupe, Jefferson, and Montgomery counties. There were nine confirmed cases in Texas in 2018 and one in 2017.

Five cases of measles have been reported in Illinois, compared with five in 2018 and none in 2017. Illinois had 17 confirmed cases during 2015.

Additional Cases

One case had been reported in Colorado as of February 27. Seven cases had been reported in Oregon as of March 12, three of which were related to the Washington State outbreak.

Connecticut had reported two cases as of February 4. As of February 12, Georgia had reported three cases. On February 15, Kentucky reported one confirmed measles case in an individual who had traveled out of the country to an area where measles is endemic. New Jersey reported four cases in February.

One confirmed case of measles had been reported in New Hampshire as of March 1. That patient rode on an interstate bus between Boston, Massachusetts, and Manchester, New Hampshire, on February 26. Additional information is available on the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services website.

More information about measles can be found on the CDC's website.

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