From January 1 to August 29, 2019, 1,234 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 31 states. This is an increase of 19 cases from the previous week. However, only one of these cases was recently ill. The rest were identified as past cases. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992.Elizabeth Cohen at CNN:
- More than 75% of the cases this year are linked to outbreaks in New York. Measles is more likely to spread and cause outbreaks in U.S. communities where groups of people are unvaccinated.
- The majority of cases are among people who were not vaccinated against measles.
- Measles can cause serious complications. As of August 29, 2019, 125 of the people who got measles this year were hospitalized, and 65 reported having complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis.
- All measles cases this year have been caused by measles wild-type D8 or B3.
There's a "reasonable chance" the United States will lose its measles elimination status in October because of ongoing measles outbreaks in New York, according to Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
"It certainly is incredibly frustrating and upsetting to the public health community that we may lose measles elimination status, because we do have a safe and effective vaccine," Messonnier said.
When the World Health Organization declared in 2000 that the United States had eliminated measles, it was hailed as one of the biggest public health achievements in the nation's history. Losing that elimination status would be a black eye to the United States, public health experts said.
"We're embarrassed. We're chagrined," said Dr. William Schaffner, a longtime adviser to the CDC on vaccine issues.
WHO removes a county's elimination status when measles has been spreading continuously for one year.