Measles Resurgence

September 13, 2019 • Volume 29, Issue 32
Can experts reduce skepticism about vaccines?
By Melba Newsome


The number of measles cases in the United States has reached a 27-year high — a startling development for a disease that the World Health Organization declared eradicated in the country in 2000 as a result of widespread vaccine use. And the problem is global: 110,000 deaths from measles were reported worldwide in 2017, the most recent year for which global estimates are available, up from fewer than 90,000 in 2016. In the United States, experts attribute the measles resurgence to reduced vaccination rates for children whose parents believe — against all scientific evidence — that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) is unsafe or that the disease poses no significant health risk. Most of the U.S. cases occurred in insular, underimmunized communities and have been linked to travelers bringing measles back from countries with large measles outbreaks. In some states, policymakers are eliminating or narrowing exemptions for mandatory vaccinations of children attending public schools, and health officials are pushing back against skepticism about the safety and necessity of vaccines.

Anti-vaccine activists protest (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Anti-vaccine activists protest outside the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in June after a meeting on vaccines. More than 1,200 measles cases had been reported in the United States by early September, a dramatic resurgence experts attribute to reduced child immunization rates. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 02, 2022  Long COVID
Oct. 29, 2021  COVID-19 Vaccines
Jan. 08, 2021  Health and Society
Nov. 20, 2020  The Public Health System
Jul. 17, 2020  The Pandemic Economy
Jun. 26, 2020  Zoonotic Diseases
May 08, 2020  CTE and Athletes
Jan. 24, 2020  Conquering Rare Diseases
Sep. 13, 2019  Measles Resurgence
Nov. 30, 2018  Obesity Crisis
Jun. 15, 2018  Superbug Threat
Jun. 02, 2017  Pandemic Threat
Jul. 22, 2016  Mosquito-Borne Disease
Feb. 13, 2015  Emerging Infectious Diseases
Nov. 08, 2013  Lyme Disease
Jan. 06, 2012  Preventing Disease
Apr. 02, 2010  Breast Cancer
Sep. 12, 2008  Heart Health
Aug. 24, 2007  Fighting Superbugs
Jan. 13, 2006  Avian Flu Threat
Jun. 20, 2003  Fighting SARS
Apr. 05, 2002  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Mar. 09, 2001  Diabetes Epidemic
Mar. 02, 2001  Mad Cow Disease
Dec. 24, 1999  Asthma Epidemic
Aug. 05, 1983  Multiple Sclerosis
May 27, 1983  Chronic Pain: The Hidden Epidemic
Sep. 24, 1976  Influenza Control
Sep. 16, 1970  Virus Research
Mar. 14, 1956  Progress Against Polio
May 25, 1955  Degenerative Diseases
May 25, 1949  Chronic Disease
Mar. 01, 1924  The Foot and Mouth Disease
Consumer Behavior
General Social Trends
Infectious Diseases
Maternal and Child Health Care
Medical Research and Advocacy