Measles Outbreak Spreading Nationwide

This year, the United States has seen a resurgence of measles cases in various states. Since the beginning of the year, at least 17 states have reported cases of the highly contagious illness. Measles is caused by a virus that spreads through an infected person’s sneezes, coughs, or breath. While it typically presents as a cold-like illness with a rash of red spots, it can lead to complications and even death in some cases.

In mid-February, six new states recorded cases of measles. The Indiana Department of Health confirmed a case in Lake County, marking the first case in the state since 2019. However, health officials stated that the risk to the public was low.

The Michigan Department of Health also reported a confirmed case associated with international travel in Oakland County. Maricopa County in Arizona recorded two cases linked to an initial case of a global traveler. In Louisiana, two individuals were diagnosed with measles after returning from a trip outside the state.

Florida experienced an outbreak linked to an elementary school in Broward County, with six people diagnosed with measles. The first case was detected in a third grader with no travel history. Minnesota reported a case in a 16-month-old child who had traveled internationally, with two additional cases linked to that infection.

Ohio reported its first case in a child from Montgomery County, and Maryland confirmed a positive case in a resident who had traveled internationally. California’s Los Angeles County announced a resident contracting the illness after traveling through Los Angeles International Airport. Georgia had a case of an unvaccinated resident exposed to measles abroad, and Missouri confirmed a case in a Liberty resident following travel through Kansas City International Airport.

Earlier in January, Delaware announced potential exposure to the disease at Nemours Children’s Hospital, and New Jersey reported a confirmed case in Camden County. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had nine confirmed cases, with one in Montgomery County. Washington identified six measles cases in Clark and Wahkiakum counties, likely in mid-to-late December.

New York City and Virginia also reported cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged individuals to get the MMR vaccine, which is 93 percent effective with one dose and 97 percent effective with two doses. As of February 29, 41 new measles cases were reported in the U.S., excluding the case recorded in Delaware at the end of last year. The worst year for measles since 1992 was in 2019, with 1,274 cases nationwide.