US Measles Elimination Status Threatened Due To 2024 Outbreak

The most recent outbreak of measles is threatening the United States’ elimination status, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report published Thursday.

The first measles vaccine was introduced in 1963 and, thanks to a yearslong and highly effective vaccination campaign, measles was considered eliminated from the U.S. in 2000, meaning the disease is no longer constantly present.

Despite occasional outbreaks, the U.S. has been able to maintain its elimination status. Cases have popped up due to international travel and unvaccinated or undervaccinated communities.

However, the rapid increase in the number of measles cases during the first quarter of 2024 “represents a renewed threat to the U.S. elimination status,” according to the CDC report.

As of April 4, 2024, there have been 113 cases of measles reported in the U.S. This is an at least a 17-fold higher figure than the average number of cases seen during the same period from 2020 to 2023.

“What was surprising about 2024 is that we’ve seen a significant increase,” said Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News contributor. “It’s an alarming number because it indicates a trend going in the wrong direction for us, a virus that we have successfully controlled, a virus that we successfully have an effective vaccine for.”

Read more here from ABC News.