Still the worst year for new cases in U.S. since 1992
The United States recorded only seven new measles cases last week, the lowest number so far this year, bringing the total for cases to 1,241 in the worst outbreak since 1992, federal health officials said on Monday.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had recorded cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease in 31 states as of Sept. 5.
The weekly decrease is the latest indication that the outbreak is slowing from the dozens of cases reported per week earlier this year.
The disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there was no continuous transmission of the disease for a year. Still, cases of the virus occur and spread via travelers coming from countries where measles is common.
CDC officials have said the country risks losing its measles elimination status if the outbreak, which began last October in New York state, continues until next month.
Failure to vaccinate poses a public health risk to vulnerable people unable to receive the vaccine, health officials have warned.
As recently as May, CDC was reporting 971 cases of measles in the United States in 2019. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994, when 963 cases were reported for the entire year.
The good news is that this number means fewer than 300 new cases were reported through the summer.
CDC continues to work with affected state and local health departments to get ongoing outbreaks under control.
“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. Again, I want to reassure parents that vaccines are safe, they do not cause autism. The greater danger is the disease the vaccination prevents,” said CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, M.D. “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.”