The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday, that 465 cases of measles have been confirmed in 19 states in 2019.
That’s the second-highest total since measles was declared eliminated in the United States almost two decades ago.
In California, out of 17 total cases this year, (there were only 21 in all of 2018), 11 have been associated with outbreaks in various counties, mostly in the southern part of the state.
In Washington, so far, there are 74 cases, one in King County and the rest in Clark County, the vast majority of which are in unvaccinated folks. Only a handful of those cases are in adults over the age of 18.
It’s been reported that many of the measles cases brought in the United States annually, for instance, come from the Philippines. There’s currently an ongoing outbreak in that country, where more than 70 people (most of them children) have died since January, out of a total 4,300 cases.
That’s up from 122% from last year and, according to Al Jazeera, has largely been blamed on a drop in immunization rates. Health officials in the Philippines say some areas have coverage as low as 30% and the overall rate is already down to 60%.
The news is even worse from Madagascar, where an ongoing epidemic killed more than 900 people and sickened more than 68,000 since September.
Worldwide, more than 110,000 people, mostly children, died in 2017. The last U.S. measles death on record was in 2015.
On Tuesday, New York City declared a public health emergency following a measles outbreak in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.
The measure follows a spike in measles cases in New York City, where there have been 285 confirmed cases since the outbreak began in the fall of 2018; 21 of those cases led to hospitalizations, including five admissions to the intensive care unit.
The majority of the cases have been concentrated in Hasidic communities in Williamsburg and Borough Park, Brooklyn.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city would require unvaccinated individuals living in select zip codes in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to receive the measles vaccine as the city escalates its efforts to stem one of the largest measles outbreaks in decades.
There are 15 states where young people can get vaccines without parental consent: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia. Those who live in one of those states should be able to get a physician to give them a vaccine as long as they deem the person mature enough to understand the procedure.
Health professionals are urging that if you or your children haven’t gotten both doses of the MMT vaccine, that should be your top priority. Kids as young as 9 months old can get their first shot and barring a medical issue (your doctor should know whether or not you have one that precludes you from vaccination) all healthy teenagers and adults can get the shot, as well. The only sweeping exception is women who are currently pregnant.
Because America stopped the spread of measles almost two decades ago, the people in the nation should be able to repeat that huge victory by making sure all those unprotected get vaccinated.