Around the world, including several states in the US are experiencing an increase in measles cases.  News of individuals unvaccinated for measles who have recently traveled internationally have contracted measles and brought it back to the U.S.  

The Chautauqua County Health Department works diligently in our community to ensure the Public’s Health and Safety.  As part of those efforts to prevent disease, promote wellness, and protect the health of our community, we want residents to know the facts about measles.

mMeasles is a very contagious disease.  The CDC says every individual infected by the virus can spread it to up to 10 close contacts if they are unprotected including not wearing a mask or not being vaccinated.

As of April 11, 2024, the CDC reports a total of 121 measles cases were reported by 18 jurisdictions: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, New York State, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

The CDC reports over 61 million doses of measles-containing vaccine were postponed or missed from 2020 to 2022 due to COVID-19 related delays. This increases the risk of bigger outbreaks around the world, including the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports over 58,000 measles cases by 41 of the Region’s 53 Member States straddling Europe and central Asia in 2023, compared to 941 cases reported in all of 2022.

In 2000, measles was declared eliminated from the US, thanks to a highly effective vaccination campaign, but outbreaks have popped up over the last few years in unvaccinated pockets of the country.

Outbreaks can occur due to an increase in the number of travelers who get measles abroad and bring it to the US and/or further spread of measles in the US communities with pockets of unvaccinated people.

The CDC says anybody who either had measles at some point in their life or who has received two doses of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine is protected against measles.

If you or your loved one are unvaccinated for measles, the Chautauqua County Health Department recommends that you speak with your doctor about the benefits of the vaccine, especially if you plan to travel abroad or plan to be in close contact with someone who has traveled abroad and may be infectious.

Please contact your primary care provider or the Chautauqua County Health Department at 716-753-4491 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a vaccination appointment.  


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