Measles Cases Top 1,000 in the First 5 Months of 2019

Look at this hexagonal map:

Screenshot 2019-06-06 20.39.59
Every hexagon is one case of measles

The number of measles cases has surpassed 1,000 for 2019. This is the first time in 37 years that the reported cases of measles have been over 1,000. That’s a lifetime ago! And, as you see in the hexagonal map above, most of the cases are in New York, Washington and California.

New York and California are fairly populous states, so we’d need to have more information on the age distributions between those two, and the age distribution of the cases, in order to make a better comparison. Still, places like Idaho are reporting their “first in X many years” cases of measles, and that X stands for 18+ years. In essence, it’s been a while since measles has been this emergent in the United States.

To make things more interesting, there is talk among public health authorities that the United States may lose its designation as having eliminated measles (certified in 2000) if measles continues to be transmitted between people in the United States come September 1, 2019. We may very well reach that date with continued transmission, especially since there are exposures happening at airports and other venues almost every week recently.

Author: René F. Najera, DrPH

I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, an online project by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. All opinions expressed on these blog posts are not necessarily those of the College or any of my employers. Check out my professional profile on LinkedIn: Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen