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CDC Releases Health Alert and Pushes for Increase in Measles Vaccinations


The agency released guidelines for vaccinations guidelines for children as young as 6 months old.



The CDC issued a health alert related a recent surge of measles infections across the globe. According to alert, the agency has noted a significant increase in cases and outbreaks in the United States in 2024. By mid-March, the CDC has received reports of 58 confirmed cases of the virus. These cases were spread across 17 different jurisdictions, and seven of those jurisdictions had enough cases to be considered an outbreak.

Throughout the entirety of 2023, the CDC received only a total of 58 cases and four outbreaks.

The agency also notes that there have been reported outbreaks of measles across the globe, including in Austria, the Philippines, Romania, and the United Kingdom. These locations are significant because they are considered travel destinations. The vast majority of cases reported in the current year are connected to international travel.

According to the alert, all US citizens who are traveling internationally are suggested to be up to date on their MMR vaccinations. While the current risk of widespread outbreak is low in the United States, officials are still concerned because most of the reported cases have been in children 12 months or older. These children had not received the MMR vaccine.

Due to these conditions, the CDC urges that all children who are at least 6 months or older whose families are planning on traveling internationally should receive the MMR vaccine. It also urges all children aged 12 months or older should receive the vaccine regardless of travel plans.

There has been a decline in measles vaccination rates across the globe in recent years. The CDC notes that one dose of the MMR vaccine is 93% effective against the virus. That number rises to 97% with the second dose. The MMR vaccine is a common vaccine and is considered safe by health officials and independent researchers.

Herd immunity is generally achieved when 95% of a population is vaccinated. However, the CDC notes that vaccine rates among kindergartners dropped to 93.1% during the 2022-2023 school year. Also, as global vaccination rates have dropped, more cases are coming to the United States from international travelers.

Measles is considered a highly contagious disease. It can be transmitted through either direct contact or by airborne contact with infectious droplets. People infected with the virus may spread these droplets by coughing, sneezing, or even just breathing. These droplets may remain infectious for up to two hours and can remain in the air or settle on surfaces. Infected individuals are contagious four days before the virus’ rash appears and may not yet realize they’ve been infected. People who are not vaccinated are highly likely to become infected if they come in contact with these contagious droplets.


  1. Increase in Global and Domestic Measles Cases and Outbreaks: Ensure Children in the United States and Those Traveling Internationally 6 Months and Older are Current on MMR Vaccination. CDC. March 18, 2024. https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2024/han00504.asp
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