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CDC: Measles cases rise to 58, most among unvaccinated children

March 18, 2024

Editor's note: Cases rose to 64 as of March 21. The CDC is updating case counts weekly.

Measles cases in the U.S. this year already have reached last year’s total of 58 and most have been among unvaccinated children, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health advisory.

Health officials are continuing to urge vaccination of children in the U.S. and those traveling internationally to stop the spread of the virus.

Cases this year have been reported in 17 jurisdictions — Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

About 93% of this year’s cases have been linked to international travel. Outbreaks are occurring in Austria, the Philippines, Romania and the United Kingdom.

Measles is highly contagious. It is transmitted through contact with infectious droplets or by airborne spread when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes, according to the CDC. The virus can remain in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours.

Measles can be especially dangerous in young children. The disease can result in complications like pneumonia, brain damage and deafness, and can be fatal. About one in five unvaccinated people in the U.S. who gets measles is hospitalized, according to the CDC.

The AAP and CDC recommend children receive their first dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine between 12 and 15 months of age and a second dose between 4 and 6 years. Two doses of the vaccine are 97% effective against measles. Infants traveling internationally can receive the vaccine as young as 6 months.

A recent CDC study found 93% of kindergartners were fully vaccinated against measles during the 2022-’23 school year, ranging from 81% in Idaho to at least 98% in Mississippi. It was the third consecutive year the vaccination rate was below the Healthy People 2030 target of 95%, and officials estimated about 250,000 kindergartners remain at risk.

The CDC made the following recommendations to health care providers.



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