News from the FDA/CDC

U.S. measles cases nearing postelimination-era high


The United States has topped 600 cases of measles for 2019 and is likely to pass the postelimination high set in 2014 “in the coming weeks,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 71 new measles cases reported during the week ending April 18 bring the total for the year to 626 in 22 states, the CDC reported April 22. Two states, Iowa and Tennessee, reported their first cases last week.

Outbreaks continue in five states: one in California (Butte County), one in Michigan (Oakland County/Wayne County/Detroit), one in New Jersey (Ocean County/Monmouth County), two in New York (New York City and Rockland County), and one in Washington (Clark County/King County), the CDC said.

The most active outbreak since mid-February has been the one occurring in New York City, mainly in Brooklyn, and last week was no exception as 50 of the 71 new U.S. cases were reported in the borough.

On April 18, a judge in Brooklyn “ruled against a group of parents who challenged New York City’s recently imposed mandatory measles vaccination order,” Reuters reported. That same day, the city issued a summons, subject to a fine of $1,000 each, to three people in Brooklyn who were still unvaccinated, according to NYC Health, which also said that four additional schools would be closed for not complying with an order to exclude unvaccinated students.

On April 15, the Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed the state’s first case of measles since 2011. The individual from Northeastern Iowa had not been vaccinated and had recently returned from Israel. The state’s second case of the year, a household contact of the first individual, was confirmed on April 18.

Also on April 18, the Tennessee Department of Health confirmed its first case of the year in a resident of the eastern part of the state. Meanwhile, media are reporting that state health officials in Mississippi are investigating possible exposures on April 9 and 10 in the Hattiesburg area by the infected Tennessee man.

Outside the United States, “many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rises in cases,” the World Health Organization said. Current outbreaks include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Philippines, Sudan, Thailand, and Ukraine.

Preliminary data for the first 3 months of 2019 show that cases worldwide were up by 300% over the first 3 months of 2018: 112,163 cases vs. 28,124. The actual numbers for 2019 are expected to be considerably higher than those reported so far, and WHO estimates that, globally, less than 1 in 10 cases are actually reported.

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