Measles outbreak surpasses 1,200 cases in 30 states as school year begins
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 U.K. lost its measles-free status on Monday. A junior health minister told BBC Radio 4 "Today" that they have enough measles vaccine stockpiled in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which could disrupt supplies of some drugs on Oct. 31.
- Israel last week reported its third measles-related death since November, following an outbreak that infected 4,292 people between July 2018 and July 2019.
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been fighting a measles outbreak in addition to a range of other diseases like Ebola and malaria. Measles has killed more than 2,700 people since the start of the year.
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.