NEW YORK (AP/ KXAN) — U.S. health officials report that the number of measles cases through the first three months of this year have surpassed the count for all of 2018.
There have been 387 cases through March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. There were 372 last year. It’s the most since 2014 when 667 were reported.
This year’s numbers have been driven by outbreaks in several states, including New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Washington.
As of March 21, 14 cases of measles were confirmed in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Texas had nine confirmed cases last year and just one in 2017.
Most people who get measles have not been vaccinated, though Texas health officials say the measles vaccine is about 97 percent effective after two doses. Measles is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and it is extremely contagious. If someone has the disease, officials say 90 percent of the non-immunized people will become infected.
For most people, measles is miserable but not life-threatening. There have been three measles-related deaths reported since 2000, including two in 2003 and one in 2015.
“A hallmark of measles is a rash that begins as flat, red spots on the face and spreads down the neck and trunk to the rest of the body,“ according to the Texas health website. “Other symptoms include a high fever over 101 degrees, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. Anyone who believes they have measles should contact their health care provider as soon as possible.“