US Measles Cases at Second-Highest Since Elimination in 2000

Troy Brown, RN

April 01, 2019

The number of individual measles cases is at its second highest in the United States since the disease was eliminated in 2000, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Measles was confirmed in 387 individuals from January 1 to March 28, 2019, the CDC said in its weekly report released today. The number of measles cases now exceeds that of the 2017-2018 season, when there were 372 cases.

Measles cases were at their highest during 2014, when there were 667 cases.

Fifteen states have reported measles cases to the CDC: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.

Six Outbreaks

Measles outbreaks (defined as 3 or more cases) were reported in six jurisdictions and are currently ongoing in 2019. The jurisdictions are: Rockland County, New York State, where a countywide state of emergency was declared last week; New York City; Washington state; Santa Cruz County, California; New Jersey; and Butte County, California.

Rockland County has barred unvaccinated individuals younger than 18 years from public places until the declaration expires in 30 days or until receipt of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination.

The outbreaks are connected to individuals who traveled to countries with current large outbreaks, such as Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines.

Increased numbers of measles cases can occur as a result of an increase in the number of international travelers who contract measles abroad and spread it in the United States and/or additional measles transmission in communities with groups of unvaccinated people in the United States.

Information about the MMR vaccine is available at the CDC's website.

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