CDC Declares Health Advisory Alert Over Rising Measles Cases

The CDC has declared an official health advisory alert as measles cases surge, with cases in the first three months of 2024 surpassing the total number of cases for the entirety of 2023.

“As of March 21, 2024, a total of 64 measles cases were reported by 17 jurisdictions: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington,” the CDC’s data on measles cases reports.

However, this number falls short when compared to the substantially higher figure in 2019: “From January 1 to December 31, 2019, 1,274 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 31 states. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992.”

“Measles (rubeola) is highly contagious; one person infected with measles can infect 9 out of 10 unvaccinated individuals with whom they come in close contact,” the CDC noted in its health advisory alert.

“Measles is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. MMR vaccines are safe and highly effective, with two doses being 97% effective against measles (one dose is 93% effective). When more than 95% of people in a community are vaccinated (coverage >95%) most people are protected through community immunity (herd immunity).”

The CDC further stated, “From January 1 to March 14, 2024,” they were “notified of 58 confirmed U.S. cases of measles across 17 jurisdictions,” adding that out of these, “54 (93%) were linked to international travel. Most cases reported in 2024 have been among children aged 12 months and older who had not received measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.”

However, there has been a large measles outbreak connected to a Chicago migrant shelter. The shelter, located in the Pilsen neighborhood, has seen a surge in cases, with 15 patients diagnosed so far this year, according to USA Today. The Chicago Department of Public Health has taken measures to control the spread, including vaccinating shelter residents.

This situation has raised concern, especially given that measles cases in the city have been relatively rare since 2019.

It is not clear whether these cases have not been reported to the CDC or if they are being counted as “linked to international travel.”

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