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New cases of measles in the U.S. 1950-2020

There were around 1,282 new cases of measles in the U.S. in 2019. Measles, also known as rubeola, is an infectious disease that is highly contagious and affects mostly children. Common symptoms of measles include fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, and a rash. Although death rates from measles have decreased around the world, it is still responsible for around 91,000 deaths worldwide per year.

Measles vaccination

The main reason for the decrease in measles cases and deaths is due to high vaccination rates. The widely used MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella and is safe and effective. In 2017, around 91.5 percent of children aged 19 to 35 months had received the MMR vaccine. However, in recent years there has been a rise in measles cases in many parts of the world due to vaccine hesitancy.

Vaccine hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy refers to a refusal or reluctance to have children vaccinated despite the overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe and effective. This hesitancy comes from a misunderstanding of the ingredients in vaccines and how they work, a mistrust of doctors and pharmaceutical companies, and belief in the unfounded associations of vaccines with other diseases and disorders. Shockingly, a recent survey from Statista found that only 71 percent of U.S. parents felt the measles vaccine was “absolutely necessary”.

Number of new cases of measles (rubeola) in the U.S. from 1950 to 2020

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Release date

August 2020


United States

Survey time period

1950 to 2020

Supplementary notes

Figures from 2009 and prior were taken from the Health, United States, trend tables.
* Cases as of August 19, 2020. Case count is preliminary and subject to change.

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Statistics on "Diseases"

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