Photo courtesy Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on the recent increase in measles cases, including a summary of all of the measles cases reported from January 1 – April 26 this year.

During that period a total of 704 cases were reported, the highest number of cases reported since 1994. Outbreaks in close-knit communities accounted for 88 percent of all cases.

Of 44 cases directly imported from other countries, 34 were in U.S. residents traveling internationally; most were not vaccinated.

The full report can be viewed at the CDC website, here.

Here are some key points from the CDC about the measles outbreak:

  • The median age of the patients reported was 5 years.
  • About 1 out of every 4 cases was a child between 16 months and 4 years old.
  • 71% of the individuals with measles were unvaccinated, and another 18% had an unknown vaccination status. 11% were vaccinated.
  • Overall, 66 (9%) patients were hospitalized and 24 (3%) had pneumonia. No deaths or cases of encephalitis were reported to CDC.
  • New York and New York City have accounted for 67% of all of the reported measles cases this year so far.
  • The vast majority (98%) of the cases were U.S. residents. Forty-four of the cases were the result of an international traveler (usually a U.S. resident) becoming infected in another country and returning to the United States.

Here is general information from the CDC about measles and MMR vaccine:

  • Individuals may not be vaccinated for many reasons. Some adults may not be aware they need the vaccine. Some children may not be up to date either because the child is unable to be vaccinated or because the caregiver refuses or delays vaccination.
  • In New York, parents may refuse or delay MMR vaccine because of concerns based on the misinformation being spread by some organizations about the vaccine safety and effectiveness, as well as disease severity.
  • Measles can be serious. There is no way to predict how bad a case will be. There is no treatment or cure for measles. Some children may have very mild symptoms but others may face more serious complications, like pneumonia and encephalitis. We have seen a variety of cases in this outbreak, from mild to severe.
  • CDC’s MMR vaccine routine recommendations are as follows:
    • Children 12 months of age or older should have 2 doses, the first dose at age 12 to 15 month and the second dose between 4 to 6 years.
    • Adults who do not have evidence of immunity should get at least one dose of MMR vaccine.

Please visit www.cdc.gov/measles for more information or e-mail DVDCommunications@cdc.gov with any questions.