US Measles Cases Now the Highest Since Eliminated in 2000

Troy Brown, RN

April 24, 2019

The number of confirmed measles cases in the United States is higher than it has been since the disease was eliminated here in 2000, reaching 695 cases as of today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That tops the previous high of 667 confirmed cases, in 2014. The CDC reports that measles has now been confirmed in 22 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

Most of the measles cases are in unvaccinated individuals, and the CDC states in a news release that "the recent outbreaks started through importation" from other countries.

"The high number of cases in 2019 is primarily the result of a few large outbreaks — one in Washington State and two large outbreaks in New York that started in late 2018," CDC officials say.

Outbreaks Across the County

Outbreaks — three or more confirmed cases — have occurred or are occurring in Brooklyn and Queens in New York City; Rockland county, New York; Washington state; Michigan; California; and New Jersey.

In Brooklyn and Queens in New York, the total number of confirmed cases was 390 on April 24, an increase of 31 cases in the 6 days since the numbers were last updated.

In Rockland county, New York, there have been 200 confirmed cases as of April 24, an increase of six in just 5 days.

Washington state has 74 cases as of April 10. On April 23, Washington voted to stop allowing parents to claim a personal or philosophical exemption from vaccination, although medical and religious exemptions remain in place there, according to Time Magazine .

Michigan reported 43 confirmed cases as of April 13, and in California, there have been 23 confirmed cases as of April 17.

New Jersey reported 14 cases as of April 23.

Additional Cases

In Oregon, 14 cases have been reported as of April 22. In Texas, there have been 15 confirmed cases as of April 5, and in Missouri, there are 10 confirmed cases, according to news reports.

In Illinois, there have been seven confirmed cases. Four cases have been reported in Maryland as of April 19.

In Connecticut, three cases were reported as of April 12. In Georgia, there were three cases in January and none since, according to news reports.

10 States Report Numbers Below Outbreak Level

Ten states are reporting small numbers of measles cases that are below the CDC's definition of an outbreak.

In Iowa, there have been two confirmed cases as of April 8, according to the Des Moines Register , and two cases were reported in Kentucky as of April 3, according to news reports.

States reporting single cases of measles were: Arizona (in March), Colorado (as of April 15), Florida (as of April 18), Massachusetts (as of April 1), New Hampshire (as of April 10), and Tennessee (as of April 18).

Indiana and Nevada each have one confirmed case, according to news reports.

Get Vaccinated

The CDC continues to encourage people to be sure they and their children are vaccinated with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

"A significant factor contributing to the outbreaks in New York is misinformation in the communities about the safety of the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine. Some organizations are deliberately targeting these communities with inaccurate and misleading information about vaccines. CDC continues to encourage parents to speak to their family's healthcare provider about the importance of vaccination. CDC also encourages local leaders to provide accurate, scientific-based information to counter misinformation," the CDC said in its release.

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