TUESDAY, April 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A total of 704 cases of measles were reported in the United States from Jan. 1 to April 26, 2019, representing the largest number of cases since 1994, according to research published in the April 29 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Manisha Patel, M.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues address the increase in measles cases seen in the United States from Jan. 1 to April 26, 2019.

The researchers note that 704 cases of measles were reported in the United States from the start of 2019 to April 26, representing the largest number of cases reported in a single year since 1994 when there were 963 cases and since elimination of measles in 2000. Overall, 71 percent of the 704 cases occurred in unvaccinated persons and 98 percent occurred in U.S. residents. Nine percent of the patients were hospitalized. In 2019, 13 outbreaks have been reported, accounting for 663 cases (94 percent of all reported cases). Six of these outbreaks were associated with underimmunized close-knit communities, accounting for 88 percent of all cases.

“Health care providers should rapidly report all cases of suspected measles to public health authorities to ensure that timely control measures are implemented,” the authors write. “High coverage with measles, mumps, rubella vaccine is the most effective strategy to limit transmission and maintain elimination of measles in the United States.”

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