CDC Says US Measles ‘Elimination Status’ Threatened, Promotes Vaccines


There have been 113 measles cases reported so far in 2024 across the United States.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday said that the recent increase in measles cases across the country may pose a threat to the United States’ “elimination status,” saying that “enhanced efforts” are needed to target vaccination coverage.

So far, 113 cases of measles have been reported across the United States, according to the latest data from the CDC. In several instances, there have been local alerts sent out about individuals with a confirmed case of measles potentially exposing hundreds of people, including an instances where an “international traveler” triggered alerts at two Washington-area airports.

“During January 1, 2020–March 28, 2024, a total of 338 U.S. measles cases were reported; 29 percent of these cases occurred during the first quarter of 2024, almost all in persons who were unvaccinated or whose vaccination status was unknown,” the agency said. “As of the end of 2023, U.S. measles elimination status was maintained.”

Measles was eliminated in the United States in 2000, which means that no outbreaks persisted for at least a year, officials have said. The elimination of the virus “reduces the number of cases, deaths, and costs that would occur if endemic measles transmission were reestablished,” the CDC said Thursday.

The CDC said that the risk for widespread measles transmission is still “low” due to what it described as “high population immunity” among U.S. residents.

“Enhanced efforts are needed to increase routine U.S. vaccination coverage, encourage vaccination before international travel, identify communities at risk for measles transmission, and rapidly investigate suspected measles cases to reduce cases and complications of measles,” the agency said.

Chicago Outbreak Increases

This week, the Chicago Department of Public Health reported 3 more cases, raising the city’s total to 61. Most of the cases are linked to an outgoing outbreak at a shelter housing illegal immigrants.

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The CDC said last month that it deployed a team to Chicago to deal with the increase in cases. A CDC official, meanwhile, described the situation at the illegal immigrant shelter “an outbreak,” adding that “we have a very low bar for calling an outbreak” for measles in the United States.

“I think that what’s really important is measles is not COVID. So we have a very high level of immunity in the population. This is not a foe that is new to us. It’s a foe that we know, and we know how we can prevent it,” Demetre Daskalakis, the head of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, told CBS News.

In Michigan, Detroit’s Health Department also recently confirmed a measles case in a 4-year-old resident.

“The family of the child with measles is following all isolation protocols,” Detroit health officials said in a statement Tuesday. “At this time, no other cases of measles have been associated with this incident, including among family members of the child who was suspected on April 3rd and confirmed on April 9, 2024.”

Earlier this year, officials in California’s Sacramento and El Dorado counties said that potentially hundreds of people were exposed after an individual with measles was treated at multiple local healthcare facilities.

Weeks before that, health officials in the District of Columbia and Virginia issued alerts about a “case of measles in a person who traveled through” local airports after returning from “international travel,” including Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

CDC Alert

Several weeks ago, the CDC issued a “health alert” due to what it called an increase in global and U.S. measles cases, saying that health providers should “ensure” that international travelers are vaccinated.

“To prevent measles infection and reduce the risk of community transmission from importation, all U.S. residents traveling internationally, regardless of destination, should be current on their MMR vaccinations,” the CDC said, referring to the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine that is commonly administered across the world.

“Many countries, including travel destinations such as Austria, the Philippines, Romania, and the United Kingdom, are experiencing measles outbreaks,” the agency also warned.

The agency then advised parents who plan to travel outside the United States to speak with a health care provider to make sure they received the MMR vaccine at least two weeks prior.


Health officials say measles generally shows up in two stages. At first, most people develop a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, runny nose, watery red eyes, or cough. The symptoms generally start seven to 14 days after being exposed.

Officials say the second stage of measles starts about two to three days after the initial symptoms. Some people develop what is known as Koplik spots—tiny white spots—inside the mouth, according to the CDC.

Three to five days after the first symptoms begin, the telltale measles rash starts to appear on the patient’s face near the hairline area before it spreads to the rest of the body, spreading downward.

The CDC and the World Health Organization in November said that there were nine million measles cases and 136,000 deaths in 2022.


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