Measles Outbreaks

Authored by
Staff
Last reviewed
March 1, 2024
Content Overview
Measles detected in Africa, Australia, England, Europe, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Samoa, and United States.

Measles Outbreaks Global

The World Health Organization (WHO) European Region and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported over 30,000 measles cases in 2024 by 40 of the Region's 53 Member States. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed on Feb. 16, 2024, that the probability of exposure to measles in the EU/EEA is expected to rise due to the increasing number of cases in Europe and globally. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed the top ten international measles outbreaks as of Feb. 12, 2024, led by Yemen, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and India. The U.S. CDC published a global Watch-Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions, Travel Health Notice identifying measles outbreaks in 47 countries on November 20, 2023.

United States Measles Outbreaks 2024

The U.S. CDC says the increased number of measles cases is a global threat. As of Feb 22, 2024, the CDC reported 35 measles cases in fifteen  jurisdictions, mainly related to international travelers. 

The Florida Department of Health announced in March 2024 that ten measles cases have been reported in Broward County and a travel-related case in Central Florida (Polk Country). The Florida Department of Health in Broward County confirmed on Feb. 20, 2024, multiple measles cases (9) at Manatee Bay Elementary School in Weston, Florida. As of Feb. 29, 2024, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health reported a measles outbreak among unvaccinated residents had ended. Nine measles cases have been confirmed in Philadelphia locations but not Mongomery Country.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed a case of measles in an Oakland County (northwest of Detroit) child associated with international travel on Feb. 23, 2024. This is the first documented case of measles in the state since 2019. Indiana Department of Health announced on Feb. 23, 2024, the state's first measles case in 5 years, located in Lake County, which has a population of about 500,000. The Chicago Hospital Network reported one measles case with potential hospital staff exposures on Feb 23, 2024. The Minnesota Department of Health said its third measles case in 2024. The Louisiana Department of Health reported two individuals were diagnosed with measles and hospitalized at Children's Hospital New Orleans on Feb. 21, 2024. These measles cases are Louisiana's first since 2018. Ohio media reported two measles cases in greater Dayton in Montgomery County on Feb. 20, 2024. The Ohio Department of Health said its first measles case in Dayton on Feb. 3, 2024. On Feb. 22, 2024, the Maricopa County (Arizona) Department of Public Health confirmed a third measles case in Maricopa County (Phoenix).

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency said on Feb. 2, 2024, that a 1-year-old resident who had recently traveled overseas was infected with measles. On Feb. 1, 2024, Maryland Department of Health and Montgomery County health officials announced one measles case in a resident who recently traveled internationally, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed a measles case in a resident who traveled through Los Angeles International airport while infectious on Jan. 25, 2024. New York State reported one measles case in New York City on Feb. 1, 2024.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed a measles case in an unvaccinated Atlanta resident on Jan. 18, 2024. DHP says Georgia's last measles case was in 2020. On Jan. 13, 2024, the Virginia Department of Health was notified of a confirmed case of measles in a person who traveled through Northern Virginia airports (Dulles and Reagan) when returning from international travel on Jan. 4, 2024. On Jan. 13, 2023, the Camden County (NJ) Health Department announced it was closely monitoring a confirmed case of measles in a child who attended daycare. The Clay County Public Health Center was notified of a confirmed case of measles in greater Kansas City, Missouri, resident who was at the Kansas City International Airport on Jan. 4 and North Kansas City Hospital from Jan. 5–6, 2024. On Jan. 11, 2024, the Delaware Division of Public Health reported a potential measles exposure at the Nemours Children's Hospital in Wilmington.

In Washington, six measles cases were recently confirmed in Clark and Wahkiakum counties in January 2024. In February 2024, Spokane Regional Health District confirmed one measles case.

A CBS News investigation revealed on Jan. 30, 2024, that at least 8,500 U.S. schools risk measles outbreaks in 2024 due to low vaccination rates. 

United States Measles Outbreaks 2023

The U.S. CDC reported 58 measles cases by 20 jurisdictions in 2023. The majority of these measles cases were related to unvaccinated international travelers. The states of Illinois and Wisconsin reported measles cases in October 2023, and Texas confirmed two measles cases in 2023. As of Apr. 21, 2023, the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) confirmed three recent measles cases in 2023. The U.S. CDC issued CDCHAN-00487 on Mar. 3, 2023. According to Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services spokesman Brice Mitchell, a previous measles case was reported in January 203 and December 2022 in Christian County associated with Ohio's measles outbreak. Louisville, Kentucky and the Jefferson County Public Schools conducted measles vaccination clinics for about 10,000 unvaccinated students in late 2023.

An active measles outbreak in the U.S. Territory of American Samoa was declared on April 24, 2023. As of April 30, 2023, 2 confirmed and 52 probable measles cases were reported by the Department of Health. Therefore, travelers from the Territory (including infants) should be vaccinated with a measles-containing vaccine before entering American Samoa as of May 2023.

United States Measles Outbreaks 2022

 According to the CDC, there were 121 measles cases in the U.S. in 2022. During 2000–2022, there was an 18% increase in estimated measles cases and a 43% increase in estimated measles deaths in 2022 compared with 2021. The Health Department of the City of Columbas, Ohio, and Franklin County Public Health (FCPHreported that since June 2022, there have been (85) confirmed measles cases in children, of which (80) were unvaccinated and (36) were hospitalized as of Feb. 10, 2023. A study published by The Lancet on Jun. 27, 2023, estimated a significant immunity gap in the exposed population during the early phase of the 2022 Central Ohio measles outbreak. VaxEstim estimated the early-phase vaccination coverage as 53% (95% credible interval, 21%–77%) and the immunity gap as 42% (95% credible interval, 18%–74%).

United Kingdom Measles Outbreaks

In January 2024, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSAdeclared a national measles incident in parts of England's West Midlands region. Since October 2023, there have been 650. laboratory-confirmed measles cases in England. As of February 29, 2024. 63% of these cases have been in the West Midlands, 14% in London. The majority are children under ten years old. In 2023, from January through December 2023, there were 368 laboratory-confirmed measles cases in England. In December 2023, NHS England announced a new Vaccination Strategy.

On Feb. 7, 2024, Ireland's Health Services Executive (HSE) Health Protection Surveillance Centre was notified of the death of an adult with measles in the Dublin and Midlands Health Region. This is the first measles case notified in Ireland in 2024. The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) recently reported three possible measles cases. 

Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency reported one measles case was diagnosed in February 2024.

Public Health Scotland reported "very few" measles cases in 2023. 

Africa Measles Outbreaks

The WHO AFRO reported in 2023, measles outbreaks were reported in Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Yemen, and Zambia. As of November 2023, Yeman's measles outbreak exceeded 26,000 cases. A measles outbreak was declared in South African provinces except for the Eastern Cape in 2023. The SA National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirmed that In South Africa, 1,338 laboratory-confirmed measles cases were reported in 2023. The ongoing measles outbreak in Mauritania has affected 28 districts in 11 regions in 2023, with most cases reported from the Bassiknou district. Cumulatively, from January to May 14, 2023, 332 suspected measles cases were reported. Four deaths were reported, resulting in a case fatality rate of 2%.

Austria Measles Outbreaks

Austria has reported 121 cases of measles in 2023. As of June 13, 2023, Styria is the most affected Region, with 102 cases reported since the outbreak began in early 2023.

Australia Measles Outbreaks

NSW Health reported on Feb. 14, 2024, a second measles case related to international travel in 2024. In Sydney, an infectious adult recently returned from south-east Asia. On Jan. 24, 2024, NSW Health advised people that one confirmed measles case in the Australian Capital Territory was infectious while transiting through Sydney. On Jan. 23, 2024, Victoria Health confirmed (Alert number 240124) a new measles case in a returned overseas traveler. NSW Health confirmed a local measles case in September 2022.

In 2023, NSW Health announced that people should be alert for symptoms of measles after a Western Sydney infant was diagnosed with the infection. The infant acquired the disease in India before returning to Sydney and recently spent time while infectious in Parramatta and Westmead.

As of September 2023, four measles cases have been reported in Victoria since the start of 2023. Western Australia reported its first measles cases in three years on Apr. 20, 2023, and Sept. 13, 2023.

Europe Measles Outbreaks

The ECDC issued an epidemiological alert for measles outbreaks in 2024. During January and February 2024, the ECDC observed an increasing number of EU/EEA countries reporting measles cases, with six fatal cases reported in Romania and one in Ireland.

The WHO European Region reported over 42,200 measles cases by 41 of the 53 Member States in 2023. Of the 2,361 cases reported by EU/EEA countries between January and December 2023, 5.4% (128) were recorded as having been imported, and a further 0.9% (22) were recorded as import-related cases, meaning the source of infection (exposure) was outside the reporting country. Kazakhstan has recorded the highest incidence among the countries most affected in the Region, with 13,677 cases in 2023. In September 2023, an outbreak of measles in Berlin, Germany, resulted in the lockdown of about 600 people.

India Measles Outbreaks

The U.S. CDC reported in September 2023 that India has said about 24,000 measles cases over the past year. The WHO announced in August 2023 that India had vaccinated over 348 million children between 2017 and March 2023. A measles vaccination for children program in Delhi was launched in February 2023 to reduce the number of cases. And according to West Bengal data reported for 2022, there were 1,804 measles cases. As a result, the West Bengal Health Department launched a Measles-Rubella Vaccination Campaign on January 9, 2023, focusing on schools. This program was extended into mid-February. Additionally, measles is spreading in Nadapuram, Kozhikode, and Maharashtra in 2023. Between 2019 and 2021, about 56% of children received the recommended two doses of the measles vaccine on schedule, according to India's National Family Health Survey.

Indonesia Measles Outbreaks

The WHO confirmed on April 28, 2023, that measles is endemic in Indonesia and is reported yearly. Between January and April 3, 2023, a total of 2,161 suspected measles cases have been reported across 18 of 38 provinces in Indonesia, primarily from the provinces of West Java (796 cases), Central Papua (770 cases), and Banten (197 cases). In 2022, 4845 laboratory-confirmed measles cases and six deaths (CFR 0.1%) were reported across 32 of the 38 provinces. Therefore, based on the current data and available information, the overall risk of measles at the national level is assessed by the WHO as high.

New Zealand Measles Outbreaks

RNZ reported on January 24, 2024, that 15 people who recently traveled to New Zealand had been exposed to a measles case in Australia. One of that group was quarantined.

Nepal Measles Outbreaks

In Nepal,690 measles cases, including one associated death (CFR 0.14%), were reported between November 2022 and March 10, 2023.

Pan American Health Organization Measles Outbreaks

In 2024, the overall measles vaccination average for the Region of the Americas is 85% coverage for MMR1 and 70% for MMR2. In 2023, 14,884 suspected measles cases were reported. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) estimated in 2023 that more than 1.7 million children in 28 countries and territories of the Americas did not receive an initial dose of the measles vaccine by their first birthday.

In January 2024, the Costa Rica Ministry of Health confirmed a case of Measles in the capital city of San Jose, which was detected on January 11 of this year. One measles case was confirmed in 2023.

In Canada, 12 cases of measles were laboratory-confirmed in 2023.

Mexico issued an alert in February 2024 regarding measles cases in the United States. 

On January 23, 2023, the Paraguay IHR National Focal Point notified the WHO of a confirmed case of measles in the Itapúa Department, Paraguay. Itapúa is close to the southern border of Paraguay with Argentina. Of 181 people surveyed, 107 were vaccinated against measles and rubella, with a coverage of 59%. The official measles vaccination coverage for the first and second doses of MMR in 2021 was reported to be  56% and 55%, respectively.

Philippines Measles Outbreaks

The Philippines Department of Health reported the ongoing measles outbreak reached over 2,500 in 2023. In addition, these. The Philippines reported 589 confirmed measles cases in 2022 and 206 cases in 2021.

South Korea Measles Outbreaks

In January 2023, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported a travel-related local measles case. Previously, a measles outbreak with 20 confirmed cases occurred at a children's hospital in Daejeon, South Korea, from March 28 to April 21, 2019. 

Taiwan Measles Outbreak

Taiwan's Department of Disease Control reported in February 2024 the first locally acquired measles case of 2024. The TCDC stated that since 2020, there have been four measles cases in Taiwan.

Measles Outbreak Costs

The APA's journal Pediatrics published a study in April 2021 that indicates that during a measles outbreak in Washington, costs were $47,479 per case or $814 per contact. And on January 22, 2020, Clinical Infectious Diseases published a meta-study that calculated the median price per measles case was $32,805 (range, $7,396-$76,154).

Measles Outbreak Wastewater Surveillance

The National Wastewater Surveillance System was launched by the U.S. CDC in 2020. A wastewater surveillance program for measles can target locations with lower MMR vaccination coverage and identify places to prioritize public health resources. In 2017, researchers in the Netherlands tested wastewater samples collected during a measles outbreak. Measles virus RNA was detected in regions where measles cases were identified. In September 2023, researchers from Nova Scotia developed a tool to screen wastewater for four pathogens, including measles.

Measles Virus Genotype Variant Detections

Eurosurveillance published a Rapid Communication in February 2024, identifying three measles virus genetic mutations in 18 countries, resulting in a loss in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test sensitivity. These researchers said measles variants have been detected in 18 countries since 2021. On Feb. 15, 2024, Eurosurveillance reported that Italian researchers described five genotype D8 measles variant detections from areas in and around Milan, Italy. Genotypes B3 and D8 were identified in Canada in 2023. The CDC says the measles virus is transmitted from person to person via respiratory droplets and airborne routes as aerosolized droplet nuclei. 

Measles Vaccines

The U.S. CDC published the updated measles vaccination schedule. In addition, various measles vaccines are listed on this Precision Vaccinations webpage.

Measles Vaccination For Travelers

This CDC web tool empowers international travelers to determine whether or not they need an additional measles vaccination before departure. 

Measles Diagnosis and Treatment

The CDC's Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity Call on  August 17, 2023, included these presentations. Vitamin A deficiency is a recognized risk factor for severe measles infections. Children diagnosed with measles should receive two vitamin A supplements 24 hours apart. In 2002, there was evidence that the same dose given for two days was associated with a reduced risk of overall mortality and pneumonia-specific mortality. The CDC says since there are no approved treatments, people exposed to measles cannot readily show that they have evidence of immunity.