Measles outbreak slows with no new cases reported last week

Measles outbreak slows with no new cases reported last week

No new measles cases were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week, indicating that the spread of the highly contagious disease is slowing in the U.S.

It marks the first week since January that no new measles cases were reported to the CDC.  

In all, 1,241 measles cases have been confirmed in 31 states between Jan. 1 and Sept. 12, the highest number of cases since 1992. 

ADVERTISEMENT

But the cases appeared to drop off this summer, with only 24 cases being reported to the CDC in August, compared to more than 300 in March. 

More than 75 percent of the cases this year were linked to outbreaks in New York, the CDC said. 

State health officials declared an end to New York City's outbreak on Sept. 3. But outbreaks, defined as three or more measles cases, are still ongoing in Rockland and Wyoming counties in New York.

The CDC linked the outbreaks to travelers who brought measles back from other countries, including Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines. 

Most cases occurred in communities in which large groups of people, particularly children, were not vaccinated. 

While the measles vaccine is highly effective and safe, the CDC says, misinformation has led some parents to decline to vaccinate their children. 

Several states, including New York, have tightened their vaccine laws this year, removing religious and moral exceptions to vaccine requirements for schoolchildren. 

New York City also issued a mandatory vaccination order for people living and working in four Brooklyn neighborhoods.  

CDC officials have warned that the surge in measles outbreaks could result in the U.S. losing its measles elimination status from the World Health Organization. 

If no new measles cases are tied to the current outbreak in New York in the next month, the U.S. will retain its measles elimination status, a CDC spokesperson told The Hill. 

A country loses that status when measles spreads continuously for one year. WHO recently revoked the United Kingdom's measles elimination status.