2019 Begins with 79 Measles Cases Reported in the US

Kristen Coppock, MA, Editor
Published Online: Monday, February 4th, 2019
At least 79 individual cases of measles in the United States have been reported since the start of 2019.
 
During the month of January, 3 states also experienced outbreaks of the virus, according to the CDC. 1
 
Reported January 1 to 31, these measles cases occurred in 10 states. Three or more cases constitute an outbreak, which is occurring in New York, New Jersey, and Washington. Cases also were reported in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon, and Texas. 1
 
Cases reported in 2019 are more than all US measles cases reported in 2010 and 2012, which had 63 and 55 cases, respectively, according to the CDC. 1
 
Measles activity in the United States was elevated at the close of 2018. Last year, 372 cases of measles were reported, and the United States had 17 outbreaks. New York State, New York City, and New Jersey had 3 outbreaks each in 2018. 1
 
In any year, measles can occur because of an increase in the number of travelers who are exposed to the virus abroad and bring it back into the United States. Measles is still common in many parts of the world. 1
 
The CDC is warning travelers of active outbreaks in Brazil, Columbia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, England, France, Greece, Israel, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Philippines, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. 2
 
In 2018, 82 people brought measles into the United States from other countries.
 
This is the largest number of imported cases since measles was eliminated from the United States in 2000, according to the agency.1
 
Measles also is spread in US communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.
 
The majority of individuals who got measles were not vaccinated for the virus, according to the CDC. 1
 
The 2018 cases in New Jersey and New York primarily occurred among unvaccinated individuals in Orthodox Jewish communities. Those cases also were associated with travelers returning from Israel. 1
 
The CDC is encouraging travelers to become immunized before going abroad. Infants aged 6 to 11 months should receive 1 dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine; children aged 12 months and older should receive 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days; and teenager and adults without evidence of immunity against measles should also receive 2 doses of the MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.2
 
In 2017, 75 of the 120 reported cases in the United States occurred in Minnesota, in a Somali-American community with poor vaccination coverage. 1
 
In 2014, 667 reported cases in the United States included 23 outbreaks. The largest outbreak had 383 cases, which occurred primarily in Amish communities in Ohio. Many of these illnesses were associated with cases imported from the Philippines, where an outbreak was occurring.1 
 
A 2015 outbreak of 147 cases was linked to an amusement park in California and was likely started by a traveler, according to the CDC.
 
This outbreak was identified as the same virus type as the United States’ 2014 measles cases and the Philippines outbreak.1
 
 
References
 
  1. CDC. Measles cases in 2019. cdc.gov/measles/cases-outbreaks.html. Updated February 1, 2019. Accessed February 4, 2019.
  1. CDC. Measles (rubeola): for travelers. cdc.gov/measles/travelers.html. Updated January 25, 2019. Accessed February 4, 2019.
 
 



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