US Measles Cases Top 300, Emergency Declared in New York County

Megan Brooks

March 27, 2019

There are now 314 confirmed cases of measles in 15 states, with six states reporting measles outbreaks, according to the latest data for 2019 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The situation is severe enough in New York's Rockland County, a suburb of New York City, that an emergency was declared effective today with 155 confirmed cases, according to the local health department.

Rockland County executive Ed Day declared the countywide state of emergency to include anyone less than 18 years of age who is unvaccinated against the measles. They are barred from public places until this declaration expires in 30 days or until they receive the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination.

Most of these cases (82%) are people who have not been vaccinated against measles and most are individuals aged 4 to 18 years (46%) and younger children aged 1 to 3 years (24%), many of them concentrated in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, where vaccination rates are far below the average.

In neighboring New York City, as of March 27, there have been 214 confirmed cases of measles in Brooklyn and Queens since October. Most of these cases have also involved members of an Orthodox Jewish community. The initial child with measles was not vaccinated and acquired measles on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak was occurring.

Other Outbreaks

States that have reported measles cases to the CDC besides New York are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

The six outbreaks (defined as three or more cases) reported so far this year in the United States include — along with Rockland County and New York City — the four states of California, Illinois, Texas, and Washington.

As of March 22, Washington State reports 74 cases of measles; 73 in Clark County (most in children aged 1 to 10 years; 63 not vaccinated) and one in King County (a man in his 50s who traveled to Clark County).

Texas has 14 confirmed cases of measles as of March 21 and Illinois has six cases. In California, there are seven confirmed measles cases as of March 22, including one outbreak of three cases linked to a patient with international travel.

The CDC advises anyone traveling internationally to be vaccinated against measles before leaving.

The 314 measles cases and six outbreaks reported to the CDC through March 21, 2019, compare with 372 cases and 17 outbreaks reported in all of 2018. In 2000, the CDC declared that the disease had been eliminated in the United States.

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