Science and Tech


There have been more US measles cases this year than in all of 2023

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked the majority of cases to international travel.
A dose of the MMR vaccine
Posted at 3:54 PM, Mar 28, 2024

There have been more U.S. measles cases so far this year than in all of 2023, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The CDC said as of March 21, 2024, there have been 64 measles cases reported nationwide. There were a total of 58 reported cases of measles throughout all of last year. 

So far this year, the CDC said 17 different states reported measles cases, compared to 20 jurisdictions for all of 2023.

The World Health Organization characterizes measles as a "serious airborne disease caused by a virus that can lead to severe complications and death." It is highly contagious and can spread through breathing, coughing or sneezing. 

Symptoms can include a runny nose, cough, rash, red and watery eyes, and small white spots on the inside of the cheeks, according to the CDC. In some cases, measles can lead to blindness, an encephalitis infection that can cause brain swelling or damage, severe diarrhea, and trouble breathing.

There is no specific treatment for measles, according to the WHO, but the focus should be on relieving symptoms and keeping the infected person comfortable and hydrated. 

Measles can be prevented with an MMR vaccine, which also protects against mumps and rubella, the CDC said.

Measles is most common in children but can also affect adults, according to the WHO.

The CDC previously said the majority of cases reported in the U.S. this year were linked to international travel. It said most cases this year were seen in children 12 months and older who had not received an MMR vaccine.

Some travel destinations are currently experiencing measles outbreaks, the CDC warned. Those include Austria, the Philippines, Romania, and the United Kingdom.

The CDC urges travelers to stay current on their MMR vaccines. 

CDC urges more measles vaccines, especially for those traveling
A vial of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine

CDC urges more measles vaccines, especially for those traveling

The CDC says declining vaccination coverage nationally and abroad can be traced to the COVID-19 pandemic, and may contribute to increased outbreaks.