On April 19, CDC posted its latest updated number of 2019 measles cases in the U.S. on its Measles Cases and Outbreaks web page, now increased to 626 cases across 22 states. This number reflects an increase of 71 cases over the previous week’s total of 555, with the outbreaks now including two additional states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000, second only to the 667 cases reported during all of 2014. In the coming weeks, 2019 confirmed case numbers will likely surpass 2014 levels.
The states that have reported cases to CDC are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.
Opportunities for measles to spread as we continue through the spring travel season and into early summer are expected. The CDC offers these tips to keep 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 trips.
For additional information and resources on measles, please visit the CDC’s measles website.