Fifteen states have now officially reported cases of measles to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the outbreak is the second highest in number since 2014.

The CDC’s latest report also added nearly 50 cases, bringing the total to 314 as of March 21.
Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington have now all reported cases in the outbreak.

The outbreak has been linked to travelers who brought the measles back from other countries facing outbreaks such as Ukraine and Israel. There were 372 cases reported in 2018 according to the CDC. So far, the current outbreak is the second-highest since 2014.

The CDC says the majority of people with measles were unvaccinated and the issue could continue as travelers from overseas bring the disease back to the United States.

The situation is so concerning for public health officials in New York, they are officially banning unvaccinated minors from public spaces.

Rockland County officials announced that starting at 12 a.m. on Wednesday, anyone under 18 who has not yet been vaccinated will be barred from public places until they receive the MMR vaccine or until the emergency declaration expires in 30 days. Public places are being defined by county officials as “any place where people get together for civic or social reasons,” such as shopping centers, schools and restaurants. Outdoor areas, such as playgrounds, are not included, according to county officials.

Law enforcement will not be asking people for vaccination records, but if parents are found to be in violation, their cases will be forwarded to the district attorney, Rockland County Executive Ed Day told reporters in a news conference Tuesday. Violations will be charged as misdemeanors punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

“We must do everything in our power to end this outbreak,” Day said.

There have been massive outbreaks of the disease in the Philippines and Ukraine, more than 80,000 cases in the past year in Europe. Given the ease of travel and the anti-vaccination movement, public health officials have given up the goal of eradicating the disease. Now, it is anticipated there will be regular, small outbreaks in this country.

The tragedy is it doesn’t have to be that way.

Measles could be eradicated. Future generations of children could be spared both measles infections and eventually measles vaccination, after the viruses were certified as gone.

The measles vaccine is effective enough to do the job, experts believe. The measles component of the MMR vaccine — it also protects against mumps and rubella — prevents infection in 97 out of every 100 kids who get the recommended two doses. If enough children were vaccinated with MMR around the globe, measles would follow smallpox into the history books.

In conclusion, there will be more measles emergencies declared, and more rules related to vaccination as well.


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