CDC Calls for ‘Enhanced’ Vaccination Efforts Amid Measles Surge

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the uptick in measles cases may lead to “enhanced” vaccination efforts.

The increase of the virus threatens the United States’ “elimination status,” which it has held since 2000, the agency said.

According to the CDC’s new report, 338 U.S. measles cases were reported between January 1, 2020–March 28, 2024. Over a quarter of the cases (29%) occurred in those who were unvaccinated, the report noted.

Due to “high population immunity,” the risk of measles remains low. Despite the low risk for the general population, the CDC called for “enhanced efforts” to “increase routine U.S. vaccination coverage, encourage vaccination before international travel, identify communities at risk for measles transmission, and rapidly investigate suspected measles cases to reduce cases and complications of measles.”

American Faith reported that as of March 21, the CDC confirmed 64 measles cases reported by 17 jurisdictions, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

In January, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for “urgent vaccination efforts” to stop the spread of measles across Europe.

Between January and October 2023, more than 30,000 measles cases were reported by 40 of the 53 European Member states.

“We have seen in the Region not only a 30-fold increase in measles cases, but also nearly 21,000 hospitalizations and 5 measles-related deaths,” said WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Hans Henri P. Klugeis. “This is concerning.”

“Vaccination is the only way to protect children from this potentially dangerous disease. Urgent vaccination efforts are needed to halt transmission and prevent further spread,” Kluge continued. “It is vital that all countries are prepared to rapidly detect and timely respond to measles outbreaks, which could endanger progress towards measles elimination.”