U.S. May Lose Measles Elimination Status

May 31, 2019

As the number of confirmed measles cases in the United States this year now stands at 971, authorities at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are warning that the country can lose its measles elimination status if the number of cases keep rising.

The number of measles cases for the first five months of 2019 is greater than 1994, when 963 cases were reported for the entire year. In 1992, 2,237 cases were reported.

The measles elimination goal was first announced in 1966 and accomplished in 2000. Before widespread use of the measles vaccine, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States.  An estimated 48,000 people were hospitalized and about 400 to 500 died.

CDC officials say if the ongoing measles outbreaks in New York, N.Y., and Rockland County, N.Y. continue through summer and fall, the United States may lose its measles elimination status, erasing the hard work done by all levels of public health.