Aug 19, 2019

Measles outbreak surpasses 1,200 cases in 30 states as school year begins

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Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

The measles outbreak in the U.S., which is fast approaching the 1-year mark and has broken a 27-year record, has reached 1,203 cases in 30 states since the start of 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

Why it matters: The school year is starting and public health officials are concerned that the highly contagious virus will be spread via unvaccinated children and college students, possibly leading to severe complications or death.

The latest: The CDC said there were 21 new cases confirmed last week.

  • The U.S. is in danger of losing its "measles-free" designation from the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization, which it's had since 2000.
  • The CDC says 124 people with measles were hospitalized between Jan. 1 and Aug. 15, with 64 reporting complications that include pneumonia and encephalitis.
  • All measles cases this year have been caused by measles wild-type D8 or B3, per the CDC.

Meanwhile, measles continues spreading overseas as well. The WHO reported last week that the first 6 months of 2019 showed measles cases are the highest they've been in any year since 2006.

The bottom line: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Axios last week he was "very concerned" about the upcoming school year, as there needs to be a 93%–95% overall vaccination rate to protect communities.

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