As of May 10, 2019, CDC is reporting 839 cases of measles from 23 states so far in 2019. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1994 and since measles was eliminated from this country in 2000.
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. The outbreaks in New York City and New York State are among the largest and longest lasting since measles elimination in 2000. The longer these outbreaks continue, the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States.
Stopping these measles outbreaks is a priority for CDC and we are working 24/7 to protect Americans from this contagious disease. Vaccination is the best way to protect against measles. Today, the overwhelming majority of parents choose to protect their children with vaccines, and we’ve seen high and stable immunization rates in the U.S. for several years.
Click here for the full statement from the Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2019/04/24/hhs-secretary-azar-statement-measles-outbreak-importance-vaccines.html
Previous message from CDC:
As you may know, there have been multiple outbreaks of measles in the U.S. So far this year there have been 465 cases in 19 states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000. The majority of measles cases are in New York City and New York state, which are primarily among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities and associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel.
With the upcoming Passover holiday, which begins the evening of Friday April 19 and ends the evening of Saturday, April 27, we anticipate there may be more opportunities for measles to spread.
Please be aware that many people celebrating Passover do not stay at home. Families may travel to resorts, hotels, or take cruises for the holiday. And there will likely be an influx of international travelers before Passover, including many from Israel where measles is circulating. Popular destinations include New York, New Jersey, Florida, Las Vegas, Arizona, and Washington, D.C.
Measles is highly contagious and spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Healthcare professionals should be vigilant about measles—
- Ensure all patients are up to date on MMR vaccine.
- Consider measles in patients presenting with febrile rash illness and clinically compatible measles symptoms (cough, runny nose, and conjunctivitis). Patients exposed to measles while traveling for Passover could begin to develop symptoms between late April through mid May.
- Ask patients about recent travel internationally or to domestic venues frequented by international travelers, as well as a history of measles exposures in their communities.
- Promptly isolate patients with suspected measles to avoid disease spread and immediately report the suspect measles case to the health department.
- Obtain specimens for testing from patients with suspected measles, including viral specimens for genotyping, which can help determine the source of the virus. Contact the local health department with questions about submitting specimens for testing.
Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, up to 9 of 10 people around them will also become infected if they are not protected. The virus can cause serious health complications, such as pneumonia or encephalitis, and even death.
CDC continues to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated on schedule with the MMR vaccine. People 6 months and older should be protected with the vaccine before leaving on international trip.
For more information, please contact your local health department or call 804-864-8055.