Wynnewood, Lower Merion Township, PA — Officials in Allegheny County have reported that a case of measles has been confirmed.by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The Pittsburgh case brings the 2019 total to 705 individual instances of the highly contagious disease that have been reported in 23 states.

Six states have been declared with an outbreak of measles.  New York, New Jersey and Maryland border Pennsylvania and they comprise half of the states with confirmed outbreaks.  The CDC defines three or more cases in a state as an official outbreak.

“The CDC has linked those outbreaks to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, Ukraine, and the Philippines,” reports the CDC.

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You have to go back to 1994 to see the case count of persons infected with measles this high, says the CDC.  From January 1 to April 26, 2019, 704 not including PA’s new case, individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states. This is an increase of 78 cases from the previous week. The CDC updates its statistics on Mondays.  

“This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000,” writes the CDC.

States reporting cases to CDC so far this year are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, and Washington.


Trends in Measles Cases: 2010-2019

Data provided courtesy of the CDC


The CDC warns that if you are traveling internationally, you should make sure that you are vaccinated against the measles.  

Measles was declared eliminated in 2000 so why is the highly contagious disease showing up again?

The CDC reports that measles resurgence has been lead by the following:

  • An increase in the number of travelers who get measles abroad and bring it into the U.S.

  • Unvaccinated people living in U.S. communities

  • The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.

  • Measles is still prevalent in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.

  • Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S.

  • Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated.

A look at the last few years shows that travelers from other countries have fueled measles resurrection.

2018: The U.S. experienced 17 outbreaks in 2018. Three outbreaks in New York State, New York City, and New Jersey, respectively, contributed to most of the cases. Cases in those states occurred primarily among unvaccinated people in Orthodox Jewish communities. These outbreaks were associated with travelers who brought measles back from Israel, where a large outbreak is occurring. Eighty-two people brought measles to the U.S. from other countries in 2018. This is the highest number of imported cases since measles was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000.

2017: A 75-case outbreak was reported in Minnesota in a Somali-American community with inadequate vaccination coverage.

2015: The United States experienced a significant (147 cases), multi-state measles outbreaks linked to an amusement park in California. The outbreak likely started from a traveler who became infected overseas with measles, then visited the amusement park while infectious; however, no source was identified. Analysis by CDC scientists showed that the measles virus type in this outbreak (B3) was identical to the virus type that caused the large measles outbreak in the Philippines in 2014.

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