Measles outbreak just set a dangerous record

As of April 2019, the United States has exceeded its all-time high annual number of measles cases reported since the nation declared the disease eliminated in 2000. The latest figures come less than a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the US was experiencing an atypically high number of cases in multiple parts of the country.

Earlier this week, the CDC said there had been 626 measles cases across 22 states as of April 19, a figure slightly lower than the 667 cases reported in 2014. The agency had warned that the US would likely exceed that number, which was the record high reported after the year 2000, within weeks.

A new report from CNN claims that the number of measles cases in the United States now sits at 681 — that's based on the news agency's own analysis of health department and state data. Assuming the number is accurate, that would mean 2019 has exceeded the 2014 record in less than four months.

Measles cases have been reported in nearly two dozen states, including Oregon, Washington, Texas, California, Nevada, New York, George, Illinois, and others. The majority of infections have appeared in communities that are largely unvaccinated, according to officials, underscoring the importance of getting the MMR vaccine.

The FDA published a statement this week that emphasizes the measles vaccine's safety. Unlike some other vaccinations, the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine is administered in two doses — both doses are necessary for maximum protection, though even a single dose is better than nothing. Measles remains highly contagious and can have severe, lifelong consequences.