Editor's note:An updated measles story is available at https://www.aappublications.org/news/2019/06/06/measles060619.
Measles cases have risen to 971 in just five months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If the trend continues, CDC officials said it could threaten the status of measles as a disease that has been eliminated.
“Measles is preventable, and the way to end this outbreak is to ensure that all children and adults who can get vaccinated, do get vaccinated,” CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D., said in a news release. “Again, I want to reassure parents that vaccines are safe, they do not cause autism. The greater danger is the disease that vaccination prevents. Your decision to vaccinate will protect your family’s health and your community’s well-being. CDC will continue working with public health responders across our nation to bring this outbreak to an end.”
About 90% of this year’s cases were unvaccinated. Measles was declared eliminated in 2000, and cases haven’t been this high since 1992 when they topped 2,100.
Cases have been reported in 26 states this year, and outbreaks are ongoing in Rock Island County, New York; New York City; Michigan; Georgia; Maryland; Pennsylvania; Washington and three California counties — Butte, Los Angeles and Sacramento.
The CDC and the Academy recommend children receive the first routine dose of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12-15 months and the second dose at 4-6 years. One dose of MMR is about 93% effective, and two doses are about 97% effective.
If children are traveling abroad, infants ages 6 months through 11 months should have one dose of MMR, and children 12 months and older should receive two doses at least 28 days apart, according to the CDC. In certain outbreak settings, health departments may recommend vaccinating 6- to 11-month-olds living in or traveling to the area. They also may recommend a second dose at least 28 days from the first for children ages 1 through 4 years.
Measles has symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes followed by a rash. It can result in complications like pneumonia, brain damage and deafness and can be fatal. This year, about 9% of people with measles have been hospitalized.