There have been 971 cases of measles reported in the United States this year, the CDC said. That means 2019, which is not quite half over, now has the greatest number of cases in a single year in nearly three decades.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Thursday that the frequency of several types of food poisoning infections climbed last year, but that the increases could be the result of new diagnostic tools that help identify more cases.
Overall, the agency believes food poisoning rates have remained largely unchanged
The agency attributed the high number of cases primarily to a few large outbreaks — one in the state of Washington and two others in New York City and New York state. The New York outbreaks are among the largest and longest lasting since 2000.
“The longer these outbreaks continue, the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States,” the CDC said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, in a statement, said the rise in measles cases is “avoidable.”
“Measles is not a harmless childhood illness, but a highly contagious, potentially life-threatening disease,” he said. “We have the ability to safely protect our children and our communities. Vaccines are a safe, highly effective public health solution that can prevent this disease. The measles vaccines are among the most extensively studied medical products we have, and their safety has been firmly established over many years in some of the largest vaccine studies ever undertaken.”