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US Faces Sharp Rise In Measles Cases In 2024

Holland McKinnie
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America is seeing a dramatic increase in measles cases this year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 64 confirmed measles cases had been reported this year across 17 states as of last week, already outpacing the total reported in 2023. The outbreak signals a distressing resurgence of a virus long declared eliminated.

The CDC highlights the contagious nature of measles and underscores the effectiveness of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. With a 97% efficacy rate for those who complete the two-dose series, the vaccine is touted as the frontline defense against the spread of this disease. The recent outbreak is especially pronounced in Chicago, where the majority of cases are linked to a migrant shelter.

Illinois, with 35 reported cases, and Florida, with 11, are among the states hit hardest by the recent surge. Chicago’s outbreak alone accounts for half of the national case count, stressing the local public health systems and sparking a swift response, including a policy change to expedite the second vaccine dose for vulnerable populations.


The CDC’s Dr. Demetre Daskalakis calls for vigilance rather than alarm, pointing out that most U.S. communities have high vaccination rates, providing robust protection. However, the slight drop in vaccination coverage among kindergartners, from approximately 95% to 93%, is causing concern among health experts. This decrease in vaccine uptake and interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed vulnerabilities within the nation’s public health defense against measles.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has defended his state’s handling of the outbreak, emphasizing “personal responsibility and parents’ rights” in the face of rising cases. That dialogue is particularly relevant in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen a rise in vaccine hesitancy and a polarized response to public health initiatives. The federal government has not done the public any favors through its failures to provide accurate information during the COVID pandemic and its support of the vaccine that has come under much greater scrutiny.

Encouraging vaccination before international travel and supporting discussions between parents and pediatricians are steps in the right direction in the face of the outbreak. The government must also begin meaningful and thorough health screenings of every person entering the country.  As the Biden administration continues to allow thousands of unvetted migrants to illegally walk into the country every day, the dangers of infectious disease will continue to endanger the most vulnerable American citizens.

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