US could lose measles eradication status, CDC warns

The CDC reported 971 measles cases nationwide as of May 30, marking the highest case count seen in almost three decades, reports CNN.

The 2019 case count surpassed the 963 cases reported in 1994. The last time the U.S. has seen this amount of measles infections was in 1992, when 2,237 cases were reported.

Outbreaks in New York City and Rockland County, N.Y., are driving the nation's surge in measles infections. These outbreaks are linked to international travelers who brought the virus back from countries such as Israel, where major outbreaks are occurring.

"If these outbreaks continue through summer and fall, the United States may lose its measles elimination status," the CDC said in a press release.

Health officials declared measles eradicated in the U.S. in 2000. A disease is considered eliminated when residents can no longer contract it within a country's borders. Infections linked to international travel can still occur in a country with eradication status, according to NPR.

A loss of this status "would be a huge blow for the nation and erase the hard work done by all levels of public health," the CDC said.

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