More Confirmed Measles Cases In 2024 Than 2023

Fewer than three months into 2024, there are already more reported measles cases in the U.S. than were reported in all of 2023, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

As of March 21, there were 64 reported cases of measles in the U.S. across 17 states with 11 of those cases in Florida and 33 in Chicago. Last year there were just 59 cases reported.

Measles is both highly contagious and easily vaccinated against. According to the CDC, “Measles (rubeola) is highly contagious; one person infected with measles can infect 9 out of 10 unvaccinated individuals with whom they come in close contact.”

“Measles is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. MMR vaccines are safe and highly effective, with two doses being 97% effective against measles (one dose is 93% effective). When more than 95% of people in a community are vaccinated most people are protected through community immunity (herd immunity),” the government health agency added.

Those who have not been vaccinated are at the greatest risk of contracting measles and also of passing it on to others. Some of the cases are connected directly to a migrant shelter in Chicago, and more than 93% of the cases were linked to “international travel.”

With the millions of illegal migrants who have crossed the southern border since President Joe Biden took office, it is impossible to say how many unvaccinated children and adults have entered the country.

“We’re not just seeing cases, we’re seeing transmission, which means vaccine levels aren’t what we’d like them to be,” said Saskia Popescu, an assistant professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The 64 known cases so far in 2024 are about 800% more than the seven reported at the same time in 2023, but the figures still pale in comparison to the number of measles cases reported in 2019.

“From January 1 to December 31, 2019, 1,274 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 31 states,” the CDC noted. “This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1992.”

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