Measles cases 'likely' to break yearly record in just 4 months

There have been 626 confirmed cases, suggesting it will continue to climb.

April 22, 2019, 12:58 PM

The number of measles cases in the U.S. so far this year is approaching the record for the decade -- and in just four months time, according to new data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there have been 626 confirmed cases of measles so far this year, an increase of 71 new cases since last week. Two new states -- Iowa and Tennessee -- join the list, bringing the total to 22.

The only year when there were more cases reported in the United States since the disease was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000 was in 2014 -- 667.

"In the coming weeks, 2019 confirmed case numbers will likely surpass 2014 levels," the CDC said in its update Monday.

PHOTO: Number of measles cases reported by year.
Number of measles cases reported by year.

There are more cases in New York than in any other state, though the exact number of cases was not immediately known because the outbreak in some areas started at the end of 2018. The New York City Health Department noted that there have been 359 confirmed measles cases in Brooklyn and Queens from October 2018, to April 18, 2019.

Separately, officials in New York's Rockland County noted that there have been 194 confirmed cases there in 2019. Of those, 80.8% of the infected individuals never received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, Rockland County officials report.

The number of confirmed cases in other states are still in the double-digits, including 74 cases in Washington, 43 cases in Michigan, 23 in California and 13 in New Jersey.

Officials in New York are trying to take action to curb the spread of the highly contagious disease, for example, by fining people who refused to get vaccinated in designated areas as mandated by the mayor's office.

PHOTO: States with Measles Cases in 2019
States with Measles Cases in 2019

The spike in measles cases in the U.S. comes amid an uptick in global cases. The World Health Organization reported last week that the number of reported measles cases was up by 300% in the first three months of 2019 as compared to the same time period in 2018.

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