The CDC released updated figures on Friday of measles cases in the United States so far in 2019, indicating this year marks the highest level of measles cases in the U.S. since 1992.
Despite the rise of measles in recent years, the CDC still considers measles eliminated in the U.S. The CDC says that measles elimination means the absence of continuous disease transmission for 12 months or more in a specific geographic area.
The CDC said that the majority of cases involved large and close-knit Orthodox Jewish communities in New York, which accounted for 75 percent of cases during 2019. These cases threatened the elimination status of measles in the United States.
During January 1–October 1, 2019, a total of 1,249 measles cases, according to CDC. Of the 1,249 cases, 89 percent were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status.
"Undervaccinated, close-knit communities are not unique to the United States and exist around the world," the CDC said in a release. "These communities are at high risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, which threaten the health and safety of vulnerable persons within, as well as outside of, these communities.
"Therefore, public health authorities need to identify pockets of undervaccinated persons to prevent these outbreaks, which require substantial resources to control. A preventive strategy to build vaccine confidence is important, especially one that uses culturally appropriate communication strategies to offset misinformation and disseminate accurate information about the safety and importance of vaccination in advance of outbreaks."