OPEN MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report | 3 May 2019
M Patel, AD Lee, SB Redd, NS Clemmons, RJ McNall, AC Cohn and PA Gastañaduy
As of April 26, 2019, CDC had reported 704 cases of measles in the United States since the beginning of 2019, representing the largest number of cases reported in the country in a single year since 1994, when 963 cases occurred, and since measles was declared eliminated* in 2000 (1,2). Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness characterized by fever and a maculopapular rash; complications include pneumonia, encephalitis, and death. Among the 704 cases, 503 (71%) were in unvaccinated persons and 689 (98%) occurred in U.S. residents. Overall, 66 (9%) patients were hospitalized. Thirteen outbreaks have been reported in 2019, accounting for 663 cases, 94% of all reported cases. Six of the 13 outbreaks were associated with underimmunized close-knit communities and accounted for 88% of all cases. High 2-dose measles vaccination coverage in the United States has been critical to limiting transmission (3). However, increased global measles activity poses a risk to U.S. elimination, particularly when unvaccinated travelers acquire measles abroad and return to communities with low vaccination rates (4). Health care providers should ensure persons are up to date with measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, including before international travel, and rapidly report all suspected cases of measles to public health authorities.
* Data courtesy of Altmetric.com