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Measles Still Threatens Health Security

On 50th Anniversary of Measles Vaccine, Spike in Imported Measles Cases

Fifty years after the approval of an extremely effective vaccine, measles, one of the world’s most contagious diseases, still poses a threat to domestic and global health security. An interconnected world is increasing the opportunities for human, animal and zoonotic diseases to emerge and spread globally.  Actions taken to stop measles can also help us stop other diseases in their tracks.

  • Importation of measles into the U.S. continues to occur and poses a threat to people who are not vaccinated.
  • This year, we’ve seen the second largest number of measles cases in the U.S. since the disease was eliminated in the country in 2000 — nearly 3x greater than the average case count in the U.S. since 2000.
  • On an average day, 430 children – 18 every hour – die of measles worldwide. Measles can be prevented with an inexpensive, safe, and effective vaccine. 

Reducing the number and magnitude of infectious disease outbreaks is central to our global health security. CDC and its partners are building a global health security infrastructure that can be scaled up to deal with multiple emerging health threats. Talk with your healthcare provider and make sure that you are up to date on all vaccinations.

Graphics / Images

  • Photo: A young child with measles circa the mid-1960s in the United States.

    A young child with measles circa the mid-1960s in the United States. Measles can be prevented, people of all ages should get vaccinated.

    This is a description for image 1

  • Photo: This thin-section transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed the ultrastructural appearance of a single virus particle, or “virion”, of measles virus.

    This thin-section transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed the ultrastructural appearance of a single virus particle, or “virion”, of measles virus.

    This is a description for image 1

  • Infographic: It can happen here (in the United States); when measles happens here (in the rest of the world).

    Measles & Rubella Initiative: a global partnership to stop measles & rubella
    Entire Infographic

    This is a description for image 1

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
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Spokespersons

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Biography

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

A measles outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere. The steady arrival of measles in the U.S. is a constant reminder that deadly diseases are testing CDC’s global health security every day. Someday, it won’t be simply measles at the international arrival gate, so detecting diseases before they arrive is a wise investment in U.S. health security.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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