(Reuters) – The United States recorded 12 new measles cases last week, bringing the total number of cases for the year to 1,215 across 30 states in the worst outbreak since 1992, federal health officials said on Monday.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there had been a 1% increase in the number of cases of the highly contagious and sometimes deadly disease between Aug. 15 and Aug. 22.
In a sign that the outbreak is slowing, the CDC in recent weeks has reported smaller increases in the number of measles cases, compared with surges of dozens of cases reported per week earlier this year.
The disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, meaning there was no continuous transmission of the disease for a year. Still, cases of the virus occur and spread via travelers coming from countries where measles is common.
On Friday, California health officials said a teenage girl from New Zealand sick with measles had visited Disneyland and other popular tourist stops across Southern California earlier this month, possibly infecting others.
CDC officials have warned the country risks losing its measles elimination status if the outbreak, which began in October 2018 in New York state, continues until October 2019.
Failure to vaccinate poses a public health risk to vulnerable people unable to receive the vaccine, health officials have warned.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York and Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and David Gregorio)