Science and Tech


Report: At least 8,500 schools in US at risk of measles outbreaks

The CDC says most of the new cases were seen among children and teenagers who had not been vaccinated against measles.
Vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine sit in a cooler.
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jan 30, 2024

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is raising concerns and advising health care providers to remain vigilant for measles cases in light of an increasing number of infections.

From Dec. 1, 2023 through Jan. 23, 2024, the CDC recorded 23 measles cases in the U.S., with seven from international travelers and two outbreaks of over five cases each. In January, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, Delaware, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania have reported cases, with the city of Philadelphia reporting nine cases this month.  

The CDC says that most of these cases were seen among children and teenagers who had not been vaccinated against measles.

"Measles cases often originate from unvaccinated or undervaccinated U.S. residents who travel internationally and then transmit the disease to people who are not vaccinated against measles. The increased number of measles importations seen in recent weeks is reflective of a rise in global measles cases and a growing global threat from the disease," the CDC said.

A new CBS News investigation reveals that at least 8,500 U.S. schools face the risk of measles outbreaks due to low vaccination rates. The report highlights that vaccination rates among kindergartners fall below the CDC's 95% threshold for community protection against measles.   

CBS News says it “examined data from tens of thousands of public and private schools in 19 states and communities that make that information available to parents and the public."

Although measles was eliminated in the United States in 2000 after effective vaccination efforts, cases began to appear again in 2010 due to global challenges in eliminating the virus, according to the CDC. 

Then in 2019 an outbreak resulted in 1,274 cases in 31 states that year, with the majority of the cases happening among those not vaccinated against measles. 

With outbreaks increasing across the world, health officials are now once again encouraging the public to get vaccinated.