CDC issues alert over rising measles cases in the U.S.

The nation’s health authority issued a caution to physicians on Monday regarding a surge in measles incidents that, in just over three months, have matched the total number of cases reported in the United States last year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 58 confirmed cases of measles in the U.S. so far this year, compared to 58 cases in all of 2023.

The agency reported that 93% of this year’s cases were associated with international travel. The majority of these cases involved children aged one or older who had not yet received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

“Healthcare providers are urged to ensure that children are up-to-date on routine immunizations, including MMR,” the agency advised medical practitioners.

Seventeen states have recorded cases this year, with New York City being the location of the cases in New York, according to the CDC’s website.

The agency also noted outbreaks in other countries such as Austria and the United Kingdom, emphasizing the importance of individuals of all ages being up-to-date with their vaccinations before traveling internationally.

Measles is highly contagious, with unvaccinated individuals having a 90% chance of contracting the disease if exposed. Recent large outbreaks occurred in Florida last month and in Philadelphia in January.

Measles can also be fatal. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 128,000 people, predominantly children, died from the disease in 2021. Vaccination is estimated to have prevented 56 million deaths globally from 2000 to 2021.

Although measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, meaning no continuous transmission for more than 12 months or it not being constantly present in the country, the nation retains its “eliminated” status. However, in 2019, there was a 27-year high with 1,274 cases. The CDC has attributed these outbreaks to travel-related cases infecting unvaccinated or under-vaccinated individuals in the U.S.