Measles cases reported so far in 2024 already surpassed those reported in all of 2023, according to CDC data

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Fewer than three months into 2024, there have already been more measles cases reported in the U.S. than were reported during all of 2023, according to data posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC indicates that as of March 21, there had been 64 measles cases reported, compared to just 58 reported in all of 2023.

“As of March 21, 2024, a total of 64 measles cases were reported by 17 jurisdictions: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington,” the CDC reported.

But that figure pales in comparison to the 2019 number, which was much higher. “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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The illness is very contagious, but the vaccine is very effective, the CDC indicates.

“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,” the agency noted. “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 (coverage >95%) most people are protected through community immunity (herd immunity).”

The CDC noted that “From January 1 to March 14, 2024,” it was “notified of 58 confirmed U.S. cases of measles across 17 jurisdictions” and that of those, “54 (93%) were linked to international travel. Most cases reported in 2024 have been among children aged 12 months and older who had not received measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.”

There have been some measles cases connected to a migrant shelter in Chicago, Illinois.

“Due to increasing measles cases among young children at the Halsted Street shelter in Pilsen who recently received a single dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, the City of Chicago announced Monday that everyone at the Halsted shelter should receive a second measles vaccine dose 28 days after the first dose,” a Chicago Department of Public Health press release noted.

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