More than 600 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states since Jan. 1, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said the state is included in that number with one reported case in Jefferson County. Missouri saw 14 cases in 2018.
Officials with the CDC said Wednesday the number of measles cases in the U.S. has hit a record at 681 in 2019. That’s the most since the disease was eliminated in 2000. The second greatest number to date was 667 cases in 2014.
In the coming weeks officials believe this year’s outbreak will surpass that of five years ago. The 2019 numbers are already nearly twice that of 2018, when the country had 372 cases.
According to the CDC, the national outbreaks come from people who traveled internationally and brought the disease back. The CDC said the pockets of unvaccinated communities in the country then enable the spread of the disease.
“Nine out of ten people that are not vaccinated that would come in to contact with those droplets in the air would become sick,” said Boone Hospital Center Infection Prevention Specialist Cassie Mueller. “That’s how contagious it is.”
Measles is only deadly in rare cases, but one in three children under the age of five have to be hospitalized if they get it.
The CDC recommends two doses of the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine. One at 12 to 15 months and the other at four to six years old.
“If you get two vaccines you’re 97 percent protected from measles,” Mueller said.
Mueller said getting the vaccine also protects the people who can’t get vaccinated due to age or medical conditions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been changed to correct where the Missouri measles case was reported.