Speed Reads

vaccinate your kids!

2019 might just be the worst year for measles since the disease was 'eliminated'

So, you want more proof that vaccines work?

We're just two full months into 2019, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already seen 206 reported cases of measles. Only three of the last 20 years racked up annual totals that high, making this the worst start to a year for measles since 1992, The Washington Post reports.

Back before the vaccine became available in 1963, nearly every kid got measles before they turned 15. About 400 to 500 people would die from the disease annually, the CDC notes. Yet after making it through a few rough outbreaks in the 1990s, the CDC officially declared the disease eliminated in 2000.

Flash forward to 2014, and the CDC reported an annual total that hadn't been seen since 1994. More than half of that year's 667 cases came from a single, 383-case outbreak, which happened mostly "among unvaccinated Amish communities in Ohio," the CDC says. In fact, the CDC points out that nearly every outbreak in the last five years stemmed from unvaccinated or poorly vaccinated communities. These numbers come as misinformation continues to spread online falsely tying vaccines to autism, and as the CDC writes that vaccine refusal is on the rise.

These unusually high measles numbers for 2019 don't mean it'll be a record year overall. 2015 saw 154 cases in the first two months of the year, but only 34 in the next 10 months, the Post says.