Three Month Measles Outbreak Surpasses Total US Cases In 2023

Still early in 2024, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already shows that there are more cases of the measles in the United States than there were in the nation throughout all of 2023.

Numbers released by the government health agency reveal that, as of March 21, there had been 64 cases of measles reported across the country. There were only 58 total reported cases all last year.

Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington state each have reported cases in their jurisdictions, according to the CDC.

The highly contagious viral disease was declared eradicated from the United States in 2000, with few annual reports in the following decades. However, 2024 appears to be headed down a different road, spiking the case rate significantly. The CDC report also detailed that there were 121 measles cases in 2022, 49 in 2021, 13 in 2020 and 1,274 in 2019.

In an effort to slow the outbreak, the CDC has issued an advisory to get vaccinated against the disease, even instructing doctors to give the shots to babies as young as six months old if their families are planning to travel to a country impacted by the virus in the coming months.

The agency also reported that most of the cases involve young children who have not received the vaccine and that 93%, or 54 cases, are connected to international travel.

Out of the 58 cases so far, 33 have been reported from the state of Illinois. Specifically, a number of these infections have been connected to a migrant shelter in Chicago. This sparked an announcement from the city’s Department of Health, which encouraged everyone at the shelter to “receive a second measles vaccine dose 28 days after the first dose,” if they have not been vaccinated already.

The spike in the highly contagious disease impacting young children has stirred up additional tension surrounding the ongoing disagreement about border security and immigration.

Some are criticizing the lack of transparency from Chicago officials, who are suspected of keeping the alarming outbreak quiet due to its ties to illegal immigrants, who have overrun the city in the past several months, draining its resources.

Confirmed measles cases in the Windy City were first reported on March 4 and have been steadily reported in the weeks that followed.