CDC issues measles alert as 2024 cases already match all of 2023

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an alert to public health officials warning that the number of U.S. measles cases this year has already matched the entirety of 2023.  

“From January 1 to March 14, 2024, CDC has been notified of 58 confirmed U.S. cases of measles across 17 jurisdictions, including seven outbreaks in seven jurisdictions compared to 58 total cases and four outbreaks reported the entire year in 2023,” it said Monday. 

“Among the 58 cases reported in 2024, 54 (93%) were linked to international travel,” the CDC continued, adding that, “Many countries, including travel destinations such as Austria, the Philippines, Romania, and the United Kingdom, are experiencing measles outbreaks.” 

The health agency said most cases reported in the U.S. this year have been among children aged 12 months and older who have not yet received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. 

CDC SENDS RESPONSE TEAM TO CHICAGO MIGRANT SHELTER OVER MEASLES OUTBREAK 

Measles outbreak in Chicago

People hang around outside a migrant shelter on Wednesday, March 13, in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Many people living at the shelter for migrants have tested positive for measles. (AP/Erin Hooley)

The CDC describes measles as a “highly contagious viral illness” that “can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and death, especially in unvaccinated persons.” 

“To prevent measles infection and reduce the risk of community transmission from importation, all U.S. residents traveling internationally, regardless of destination, should be current on their MMR vaccinations,” it said in the alert. “Healthcare providers should ensure children are current on routine immunizations, including MMR.” 

NEW JERSEY INVESTIGATES MUMPS OUTBREAK 

MMR vaccine

A one dose bottle of meals, mumps and rubella virus vaccine, made by MERCK, is held up at the Salt Lake County Health Department on April 26, 2019 in Salt Lake City. (George Frey/Getty Images)

The alert comes after one measles outbreak occured in Florida in February at an elementary school in Weston.  

The CDC also recently deployed personnel to help combat a measles outbreak at a migrant detention center in Chicago.

The school's sign

Health experts reported a measles outbreak at an elementary school in South Florida in February. (Google Maps)

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“Given currently high population immunity against measles in most U.S. communities, the risk of widescale spread is low,” according to the CDC. “However, pockets of low coverage leave some communities at higher risk for outbreaks.”