Measles Cases in the US are at a 20-Year High. Thanks, Anti-Vaxxers.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/minnellium/3480352546/sizes/l/in/photostream/">Dave Haygarth</a>/Flickr

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


New data released by the CDC on Thursday shows that 288 cases of measles have been reported in the US since the beginning of the year—a higher number than those seen in the first five months of any year since 1994. More than one in seven of this year’s cases resulted in hospitalization.

As assistant surgeon general Dr. Anne Schuchat explained, “The current increase in measles cases is being driven by unvaccinated people, primarily U.S. residents, who got measles in other countries, brought the virus back to the United States and spread to others in communities where many people are not vaccinated.” Several of the cases occurred after US residents traveled to the Philippines, where there has been a measles outbreak since October 2013.

According to the CDC press release, “90 percent of all measles cases in the United States were in people who were not vaccinated or whose vaccination status was unknown. Among the U.S. residents who were not vaccinated, 85 percent were religious, philosophical or personal reasons.”

The data adds fuel to the ongoing debate about vaccines: though research from around the world consistently shows that vaccines work, some doctors continue to support opting out of immunizations, and in some states, more than five percent of kindergartners have nonmedical vaccine exemptions.

Measles chart

 

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.