More Measles Cases in 2019 Than in 25 Years

As of May 30th, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 971 measles cases in the United States this year. This means that more cases of measles have been reported in the first five months of 2019 than were reported for an entire calendar year for more than a quarter of a century.

According to the CDC, this is the greatest number of reported cases of measles in the U.S. since 1994; there were 963 measles cases reported for that entire year. The fact that you can prevent measles makes this figure all the more troubling.

More measles cases have been reported in the first five months of 2019 than were reported for an entire year in any of the past 25 years. Click To Tweet

The U.S. measles vaccine program started in 1963, and the disease was all but eradicated. Before the measles vaccine program, an estimated 3 to 4 million people contracted measles each year in the U.S. The vaccination program resulted in more than a 99% reduction in measles cases.

In 2000, it was declared that measles had been eliminated in the U.S. No sustained transmission of the virus had been seen for more than 12 months. However, it’s possible that the United States will lose measles elimination status if measles outbreaks continue. A decline in measles vaccination correlates with the increasing number of measles cases.

Vaccination prevents measles

Measles is preventable. Vaccination is safe, and it protects you, your family, and those around you. Two doses of the MMR vaccine are 97% effective in preventing measles, according to the CDC.

It’s recommended that children receive two doses of MMR vaccine. The first dose should be administered between 12 months and 15 months, and the second dose should be received between four and six years of age. Adolescents and adults without record of immunity should receive MMR vaccine as well. You can read CDC recommendations for who should and who should not receive MMR vaccine.

Am I at risk for measles?

Talk to your doctor or look through your immunization record to make sure you have had the measles vaccination (MMR Vaccine). If you are worried you have not had the vaccine and your shot records are not available, talk to your doctor about getting the vaccine. 

What are the symptoms of measles? 

Signs and symptoms appear 10 to 14 days after exposure to the disease. The common symptoms of measles may include:  
  • fever
  • dry cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • inner cheeks and mouth appear red with bluish, white spots
  • a skin rash with splotchy red patches that starts on the face and spreads down the entire body


If you have questions about measles, measles vaccine, or vaccination in general, talk to your primary care provider. Your doctor can help you understand how vaccines work, and how they protect communities. Schedule an appointment with a doctor in Northwest Arkansas today.