What You Need to Know About the Measles Outbreak

May 1, 2019

About the Measles Outbreak
The measles outbreak continues to spread in the United States, with 981 individual measles cases confirmed as of May 31, 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.

Source: CDC

More than 500 of the cases recorded were in people who had not been vaccinated and sixty-six people have been hospitalized, CDC reported. Currently, there have been no confirmed measles deaths in the U.S., but even with modern medical care, the disease normally kills about one out of every 1,000 victims, according to the CDC. The states that have reported cases to CDC are: 
•    Arizona
•    California
•    Colorado
•    Connecticut
•    Florida
•    Georgia
•    Illinois
•    Indiana
•    Iowa
•    Kentucky
•    Maryland
•    Massachusetts
•    Michigan
•    Missouri
•    Nevada
•    New Hampshire
•    New Jersey
•    New York
•    Oregon
•    Texas
•    Tennessee
•    Washington

History of the Measles Virus
The measles virus is highly contagious, can be fatal and poses the greatest risk to unvaccinated young children, killing one or two of every 1,000 children who contract it, according to the CDC. It can also cause permanent hearing loss or intellectual disabilities. As of 2000, measles virus was no longer circulating in the U.S. Each year after 2000, a few cases arrived from overseas, either in immigrants or in returning tourists, but each outbreak was eliminated. Around the world, measles cases fell 80 percent between 2000 and 2016, with deaths dropping to 90,000 a year from 550,000. But two years ago, cases began rebounding, driven by a combination of poverty, warfare, tight vaccine supplies and, in some countries, hesitation about vaccination.

ASM Statements on the Measles Outbreak
ASM Commends Committee Hearing on Vaccines and Preventable Outbreaks
ASM Applauds Subcommittee Hearing on Measles Outbreaks in the U.S.

ASM Resources on the Measles Virus
Read the latest research on the measles virus in the ASM journals
ASM podcasts on the measles virus: 
To speak with a measles expert, email us at communications@asmusa.org.

Sources: CDC, Reuters, NY Times

Author: ASM Communications

ASM Communications
Get the latest research and study results, learn about new techniques and more, as curated by the ASM Communications staff.