The CDC responded to numerous media reports this week to clarify that the United States is not in the midst of a multistate outbreak of measles.
“Earlier this week, a news station incorrectly reported that 21 states were involved in a 107-person measles outbreak,” CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund told Infectious Disease News. “We believe this news organization misinterpreted the first paragraph of our Measles Cases and Outbreaks website, which has been standard language we have used for years. Since this article was published, several other outlets have published articles as well and that may be causing some confusion.”
According to the CDC, from Jan. 1 to July 14, 107 people from 21 states were reported to have measles. The cases are not part of one unified outbreak, Nordlund said.
WHO identifies a confirmed measles outbreak as three or more confirmed measles cases — including two that should be laboratory confirmed as IgM positive — in a health facility or district with a catchment population of approximately 100,000 in 1 month.
Nordlund said an example of a recent outbreak would be the one that occurred in Minnesota between April and May 2017 and was linked to anti-vaccine rhetoric. The first case was reported on April 10, 2017, with three measles cases confirmed by April 13. By May 31, 65 cases had been confirmed.
In 2014, there were 667 measles cases in 27 states — the most since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000, according to the CDC. The agency said the number of cases reported this year is in the expected range.
“Measles is still common in many parts of the world; broad [vaccine] coverage helps protect you and your family,” Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, tweeted. – by Bruce Thiel