The latest figures come less than a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the U.S. was experiencing an atypically high number of cases in multiple parts of the country. This includes illnesses reported by state health departments to the CDC through April 19 and therefore does not include cases reported since then.
It said outbreaks can spread out of control in communities with lower-than-normal vaccination rates.
"The longer these outbreaks continue, the greater the chance measles will again get a sustained foothold in the United States", the CDC said in an April 24 statement. Three to five days after symptoms begin, the infected person could also develop a rash of flat red spots that appear on the face and spread to the neck, chest, arms, legs and feet, sometimes topped by small raised bumps.
Dr. Tim Jones, the state's epidemiologist, says even with just one known measles case, the Tennessee Health Department is taking a proactive approach to curtail the spread of the highly contagious, airborne disease.
"Ever since there was vaccination, there were people who were against vaccines", Moss says.
Worldwide, measles cases rose 300% through the first three months of 2019 compared with the same period previous year, according to the United Nations.
It is the largest number of cases reported in the country since the vaccine-preventable virus was eliminated in 2000, the CDC said.
"These cases are stark reminders of why New Yorkers must get vaccinated against the measles as soon as possible", New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said.
"Measles is the signal that in these communities where there's profound under-vaccination, they are susceptible to a whole menu of communicable diseases we thought were relegated to yesteryear", he said. Both cases involved patients who contracted the virus while traveling overseas before coming to New Orleans.
There were 963 cases reported in the United States in 1994 and 508 in 1996.
Los Angeles health officials warned this week that students and staff at UCLA and Cal State L.A. may be at risk of catching measles, an announcement that has raised questions about universities' susceptibility to disease outbreaks. Cases have been reported in 22 states, but none have been reported in Louisiana so far. Like many in her generation, she received only one dose of the measles vaccine as a child; two are now recommended.
Still, some people won't vaccinate their children because they erroneously believe the vaccine isn't safe and may cause autism.
Health officials emphasize that the best way to protect against and prevent measles is to get the MMR vaccine, which is about 97 percent effective against measles.