Measles on the brink of return warns CDC

Having eliminated all but very small measles outbreaks, usually related to international travel, for decades, the United States is close to welcoming the disease back as an endemic pathogen.

Arstechnica offers a nice recap of how we got rid of measles and touches on what has brought it back. Anti-vaxxers have not wanted to give their kids the measles vaccine for ages, and places where the disease has popped up in recent years tended to be their enclaves. The New York outbreaks they mention were in an Orthodox Jewish community that rejects vaccination. I know that in California, we had to legislate vaccination and limit exemptions due to the number of entitled people determining that herd immunity would protect their children in the years after the quack's fake paper scared everyone. I knew that prior to that legislation two communities with terrible vaccination rates of elementary school children were the very tony Mill Valley and Santa Monica, CA.

"The rapid increase in the number of reported measles cases during the first quarter of 2024 represents a renewed threat to elimination," CDC researchers write in a new analysis of the country's measles cases and surveillance system. The analysis was published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The analysis takes a deep look at the country's current and recent measles cases: how they got here, how and why they spread once here, and how good our public health systems were at tracking them and breaking the chains of transmission. The good news is that our surveillance systems appear to be working well. "A variety of transmission chain sizes were detected, including isolated cases, suggesting that sustained measles transmission would be rapidly detected," the CDC notes.Advertisement

But there are many reasons to worry that that is not enough. In 2019, the country nearly lost its elimination status amid two prolonged outbreaks in New York and New York City. While the COVID-19 crisis kept measles at bay since then, the conditions for a resurgence have only worsened.


It certainly doesn't help when Public Health Officials undermine the system.